Corporate Announcement
Social Enterprise Pepper Labs bags ASEAN Business Awards 2021, makes Malaysia proud
Published:  Dec 3, 2021 6:24 AM
Updated: 6:25 AM

Pepper Labs, a Malaysian accredited social enterprise was announced as the winner of the distinguished Inclusive Business award at the ASEAN Business Awards 2021 held virtually on Tuesday night. They have been recognized for their excellent work in driving social transformation by providing capacity building to enrich lives and create sustainable digital and economic empowerment for inclusive growth.

The ASEAN Business Awards (ABA) are organized annually since 2007 by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council to recognize and award outstanding and successful ASEAN businesses of all sizes that are actively and significantly contributing to ASEAN’s economic development and prosperity. This award further recognizes Pepper Labs’ resilience in not only successfully keeping their business afloat during the adverse socio-economic impact of COVID-19 but in continuing to thrive in being an Inclusive Business (IB).

Inclusive Businesses are businesses that actively integrates population from low socioeconomic groups into their businesses, thus making them a part of the value chain of the companies’ core business as either suppliers, distributors, retailers or customers. Distinctive for its focus on grassroots capacity development, Pepper Labs is known for its previous work on Masala Wheels, a social enterprise founded to empower marginalised communities through capacity building and employment opportunities in the F&B business, with a key focus on at-risk youths.

Seeing the success of Masala Wheels, Pepper Labs decided to divest and turn over the full operations and ownership of said enterprise to a team comprising of former beneficiaries in August 2021 – a meaningful celebration of independence in conjunction with Merdeka Day and a groundbreaking achievement. The full handover of the restaurant enterprise to the beneficiary group is the first of its kind in Malaysia, setting an example of full economic empowerment.

In the near future, Pepper Labs has targeted a quick turnaround in the setting up of three enterprises with subsequent divestment to beneficiaries. Last October, Pepper Labs set up three cloud kitchen spaces and have identified young unemployed culinary graduates as beneficiaries to operate the enterprises, and who will eventually take over the full operations and ownership within six months.

As an agency under the Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperative that is leading the IB initiative in Malaysia, SME Corp. Malaysia facilitated the nominations for the awards from potential companies based in Malaysia. A total of 126 nominations were received across ASEAN.

Pepper Labs’ achievement was formally announced and accorded during the ABA 2021 Gala Night, an annual awards ceremony held to honour and showcase ASEAN home-grown globally competitive companies that would be set as an example to future aspiring ASEAN companies and entrepreneurs in the presence of His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah ibni His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Crown Prince.

Pepper Labs holds Social Enterprise Accreditation (SE.A) Plus status from the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC)’s national certification programme that recognises legitimate social enterprises. The certification reflects its social impact, just allocation of resources and operational and financial sustainability, besides permitting tax exemptions for donations.

For more information on Pepper Labs please visit:

This content is provided by Pepper Labs Sdn Bhd

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