Team Herofinity from SK Parit Raja holding their trophies at the Financial Industry Collective Outreach (FINCO) Annual Awards Ceremony 2023 with Dr. Ruhaya binti Hassan, Deputy Director of Research and Evaluation at the Ministry of Education, and Clare Walker, FINCO CEO.

Kuala Lumpur, 5 December 2023: Repurposing used oil from their canteen operator and extended community to create products such as soaps and candles is how Team Herofinity from SK Parit Raja, Johor, who went up against seven other teams from Egypt, England and Scotland, earned the prestigious title of ‘Best Product’ during their social enterprise pitch at the International Dragons’ Den on 16 November 2023, organised by the Financial Industry Collective Outreach (FINCO) in partnership with United Kingdom-based Social Enterprise Academy (SEA).

Their presentation on ‘Soaps and Bubbles for a Clogged Sink and Drain’ at the International Dragons’ Den was the last leg of Team Herofinity’s 2023 Good SENS journey—their second year participating in the programme designed to impart financial literacy concepts to primary school students aged 10 to 12. Team Power from SJK(T) Ladang Kinrara, Selangor, was the other Malaysian team shortlisted for the international level competition.

“Being able to compete at an international level is a reward in itself. We are immensely proud of how far these teams have come in their journey of social entrepreneurship and seeing them take their place on the global stage exemplifies the calibre of talent that Malaysian students have to offer, as long as they receive the necessary support and guidance,” said FINCO CEO, Clare Walker.

Through Good SENS, students are able to identify and apply essential financial principles while actively addressing pressing environmental issues, as they develop and run social enterprises to showcase in the National Dragons’ Den. This year, the programme centred around an Environmental and Sustainability theme, challenging students to devise innovative solutions for environmental problems.

The Good SENS National Dragons’ Den 2023, held on 4th December 2023 at Petrosains, KLCC, witnessed the participation of eight out of eighty competing teams from Negeri Sembilan, Selangor, Johor, and Negeri Sembilan. Two teams jointly won the title of ‘Best Overall Social Enterprise’.

Team Green Troopers from SK Taman Sea, Selangor, sold environmentally friendly products made by the Mah Meri community, leading to employment opportunities for women, with profits supporting education for the community’s children. Meanwhile, Team G.O.A.T from SK Parit Bakar Darat, Johor, collected and recycled cooking oil to make soap and candles, using profits to buy an oil trap to address the issue of clogged oil in their school’s drainage system.

On top of earning the winning title, each winning team received a trophy and a cash prize of RM 1,500 for both the school and the team members. Their trophies were presented to them by Dr. Ruhaya binti Hassan, Deputy Director of Research and Evaluation at the Ministry of Education, at the FINCO Annual Awards Ceremony 2023 where students, teachers, counsellors and volunteers from the financial industry were awarded for their outstanding achievements in FINCO’s programmes.

A distinguished panel of judges comprising AmBank Group Wholesale Banking Managing Director, Jamzidi Khalid, Bank Negara Malaysia Financial Education Network (FEN) Manager, Norakma Mohd Ghazali, and Agensi Kaunseling dan Pengurusan Kredit (AKPK) Household Financial Education Department Senior Executive, Noor Aziera Ezurien, provided invaluable feedback to the participating teams. The judges not only evaluated the business acumen displayed by the young entrepreneurs but also offered guidance on building and sustaining impactful businesses.

“The financial industry’s mentorship of the Good SENS teams has been instrumental in creating a transformative experience for all the students involved. By equipping them with the relevant financial skills required to run their own business, these students are empowered to make smart entrepreneurial decisions that eventually lead to the inspiring outcomes, including on the environment, that we’ve witnessed today,” FINCO Chairman, Tan Sri Azman Hashim, commented on the success of the programme this year.

Looking ahead, the Good SENS programme is set to expand its reach in 2024, with an additional 30 schools joining the initiative. FINCO aspires to send more teams to participate in more international events, fostering a culture of entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and social responsibility among the youth.