Azam – founder of The Biji-Biji Initiative, a social enterprise that aims to share progressive ideas with everyone. They champion sustainable living, reuse waste creatively and they love collaborative production.
Q1: What do you appreciate yourself in the business mainly for?
My partners and I are the most proud about the fact that we pay almost half a million ringgits in salaries (ed. about 100.000 euro). As founders and directors we don’t pay ourselves much more than we pay others. There is never more than twice the difference between the persons with highest and lowest salary.
Q2: What is the biggest challenge for you now?
The challenge is, as in any other business, that you have to learn constantly. I don’t know much about marketing, I’m not trained in it. But it’s important so I need to learn it. And once we start with marketing, we have to constantly improve it. The same works for production. Management. People. Everything. And the challenge is also to challenge other people. We like to do that. We like to challenge other companies, our clients. We like to challenge customers. We challenge people who don’t want to stop using plastic bags. We challenge clients who want to put money on marketing rather than putting them in hiring more people.
Q3: What advice do you have for yourself in this situation?
Time and the spirit of working together. As long as we can maintain the unity and community we have now, the only thing is time.
Would you like to add something else?
I think the only way to make significant impact, it’s to collaborate. Team up and work together. Forget about doing everything alone, the best way is to work with as many people as possible. Share your idea. Don’t be afraid of people stealing your idea because if it’s good idea more of that should happen. I never understood why people don’t want to share. If I want to buy a drill, but my neighbor already has one, why I don’t go to him and say: look, I wanted to buy a drill, but you have one already so maybe I buy a saw and in this way we have both a drill and a saw. It has so much more sense.
The questions were asked on our behalf by Anna and Andrea from How to (ex) change the world.