While working in corporate finance, Rashvin realised that technically, we have all the resources, financial capitals, technology and human skills and talents to solve all the pressing challenges today; there is just the lack of political and human will. This prompted him to quite his job and set up Biji-Biji Initiative with fellow co-founders Gurpreet Singh, Zoe Victoria and Azam Hisham.
In just under 10 years, they have managed to build Biji-Biji into a leading social enterprise in Malaysia. The all-encompassing social enterprise provides circular and alternative energy solutions for companies; whereas for the masses, ethical fashion and educational solutions that focus on empowering the public to solve their own environmental challenges.
How has Biji-Biji Initiative impacted the Malaysian society?
I’m proud to say that we have inspired action in many other grassroots initiatives to prove that there’s a different way to do business and practise operations. We’ve engaged close to 100,000 people over the last six years. We lead by example, embodying sustainability across our operations: from payment methods, to managing supply chains, to putting out the final products that we make… this open source information we share with people has inspired them to start up their own social enterprises, NGOs, movements.
What are the challenges in running an organisation like Biji-Biji Initiative?
In the beginning, the biggest challenge was changing mind sets: getting people to look at this as more than just a “good to have”, but rather a “must-have”. Right now, the challenge is changing the behaviour of large organisations so that they are able to look at sustainability, not just as one-off transactions, but as long-term partnerships through working with us and other likeminded organisations.
What would you say is your secret to success?
When you’re working on something that serves a larger purpose than yourself, it’s really about perseverance; you know that you have to champion this no matter what. We are quite blessed with an amazing support network that keeps us going. You may get these difficult weeks with tough projects thrown at you, but when you see these people who have been following your program for the last five years, dropping words of encouragement for us to keep up the good fight… these little acknowledgements really go a long way to remind you why you do what you do in the first place.
Jacket and shirt by Gucci; TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 16 automatic chronograph in stainless steel with ceramic bezel and black calf skin strap; Mercedes-AMG GT-R