Nurturing social entrepreneurship at the heart of an established family business
Taiko Group, Malaysia
Lee Oi Kum, Director (2nd generation)
Albert Koay, General Manager (non-family)
Social entrepreneurs create new ventures with specific non-business goals in addition to financial objectives. That idea can conflict with the activities of a family business – but also enhance it. Family members or outsiders can lead such efforts, which can be rewarding if integrated well with the family enterprise.
Dr. Lee’s family business, the Taiko group, includes a listed vehicle, KLK Bhd that is primarily a plantation owner producing crude palm oil and downstream oleochemicals in Malaysia and Indonesia. Dr. Lee is the eldest daughter of the founder, Tan Sri Lee Loy Seng, whose spouse and five children control and manage the business. She is providing the funds and support required for social ventures. Albert Koay is responsible for developing and maintaining the data information system and processes across the group activities – field cropping, harvesting, crushing and extraction at the oil mill. This system is crucial to managers for making necessary decisions at every level to increase palm oil yield.
With the support of the family social venture fund, Dr. Lee and Mr. Koay are now providing a training curriculum for university graduates and less educated workers who need basic skills to work on a modern, IT-intensive plantation – a venture with a social goal that also meets business targets. We will address questions including:
• Is there a role for a corporate social entrepreneur in a family business?
• What benefits can the family business derive from identifying and supporting a corporate social entrepreneur?
• Can the giving activities of family foundations and enterprises be rationalized, at least some of the time, in terms of creating sustainable value for the family?