Pineapple Jam Business Started By Stateless Youths In Sabah

Most Malaysians come from third or fourth generation immigrant families, and hearing that one of us is stateless after our families have been here for so long seems almost impossible.

However, this is not the case for some third or fourth generation children born in Sabah, including indigenous peoples, according to UNHCR.

“There are millions of people in Sabah who are sadly stateless. Our beneficiaries bear this burden on their ancestors who failed to register their births with the National Registration Department of Malaysia, ”Raudhah Nazran, CEO of Accelerate Global, told Vulcan Post.

This is where social enterprise comes in to tackle youth unemployment, especially for those who are disadvantaged and marginalized, through skills-building programs to help them become entrepreneurs.

Opportunity through a pineapple farm

A stateless person is denied citizenship, which in turn denies them access to health care, education and, of course, limits their movement.

When Raudhah and the Accelerate team learned about statelessness in Sabah, they took a closer look at the residents of Kampung Saga 1, Sepanggar, which is just a 5-minute drive from Universiti Malaysia Sabah.

This village is near a mangrove area, where houses are built right in the mangrove swamps.

The mangrove area where the community resides / Image credit: Nanaslab

“It devastated me to see high rise buildings and luxurious living around when there are literally people struggling to feed themselves and their families just around the corner,” he said. declared Raudhah.

Fortunately, the soil in the mangrove area they find themselves in was also suitable for growing pineapples, so they started their pineapple farm to feed themselves whenever they ran out of funds.

Inside the Accelerate learning hut designed for the community / Image credit: Nanaslab

Show the ropes of entrepreneurship

Before Accelerate spotted them, the community had no knowledge of entrepreneurship and was not thinking about starting a business to generate income.

Thus, the Accelerate team trained 43 young people in the community through a 4 month program divided into 4 phases, which was the start of Nanaslab.

The first phase, Personal Growth, is about helping them build their confidence and motivation, encouraging them to dream again, especially as they work with beneficiaries who have lost hope in life.

“Some of them have been deceived or lied, while others have been traumatized because members of their family have been arrested by the authorities,” said Raudhah.

The other phases help them understand the basics of finance, the concept of entrepreneurship, pricing and marketing, and finally, pineapple jam making.

Pineapple jam was chosen as the first product of many to make because it takes minimal costs with their existing resources.

Working together to make these pineapple jams / Image credit: Nanaslab

The road to business independence

In all of Accelerate’s entrepreneurship programs, their beneficiaries will go through a 2-month business incubation after graduating from the program.

Before they can fully take over the business, they will first go through an observation program with the Accelerate team to better learn how to manage orders, shipping, and deliveries.

In this case, the Accelerate team is also working with grantees to manage orders in West Malaysia while improving their social media skills, all within the first month.

In the second month, the beneficiaries will take over the entire business and the Accelerate team will just observe and provide final feedback before handing over all operations to them.

From now on, the beneficiaries are divided into 6 groups for 6 stages of jam making: preparation of pineapple, cooking of jams, incorporation of preservatives, packaging and labeling, deliveries and quality control.

Pak Muhyiddin, who is the village chief, is currently leading the quality control team.

As they are cutting costs as much as possible now, the Nanaslab team only makes the jams when they receive orders to avoid waste.

“The capital to start the business was donated by Accelerate Global and the profits are split evenly among everyone for the first batch of pineapple jam, since everyone invested the same time and energy” , said Raudhah.

Their pineapple jams at the price of RM20 for 180 ml, excluding shipping costs. To date, Nanaslab has already managed to sell nearly 100 jars of pineapple jams.

The Final Product / Image Credit: Nanaslab

Don’t let statelessness define their lives

“Having suffered discrimination and slander because of their statelessness, they hope that this enterprise can be a symbol of strength and determination to create change whatever the circumstances,” shared the hopes of the community.

“They hope to show the world that they too can be successful despite their denial of education and employment, and that their business can change their life story.”

As for the Accelerate team, they hope that this community can become more empowered and use these entrepreneurial skills to their best advantage in times of adversity.

  • You can read more about Nanaslab here and Accelerate Global here.
  • You can read more about the other social businesses we’ve written here.

Featured Image Credit: Raudhah Nazran, CEO of Accelerate Global and Advisor to Nanaslab

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Jothi Venkat

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