THE GLOBE TROTTER'S JOURNAL
THE info graphics that appeared in this column two weeks ago is about my biggest year so far, in terms of accelerating my self discovery and development.
The experiences prepared me to give back to our society, especially to Malaysia. It was the year where I was given the biggest opportunities, the network and the resources to give back to the people who needed and deserved such help and support through this amazing initiative.
Your Big Year is the world’s largest social entrepreneurship competition hosted in the UK, endorsed by the Global Entrepreneurship Week, a global movement of enterprising people. The final stage of Your Big Year (YBY) took place in Liverpool, UK during Global Entrepreneurship Week celebration, the largest event in the country that time.
YBY was definitely physically and mentally challenging and taxing! It was hard work showcasing your best talents, ideas, communication skills and organisational experience in competition with 45,000 candidates from 168 countries.
I entered the competition as participant No.20,000+ and I could not believe my eyes looking at the massive worldwide response .
It was then advertised that the grand prize winner would win an all-expense paid trip doing meaningful projects across more than 20 countries.
Who said you cannot run a profitable and sustainable business without doing something good for your community?
YBY seeks to educate the public, especially governments and corporations that merely contributing funds and sponsorships to charities are no longer adequate. They should get their leaders and workforce involved in doing work as well.
In the end, I believe that everyone is a winner because of the ideas generated and for the very fact that they were taking such bold initiatives and bringing such daring ventures to the world stage.
It was definitely more of a learning experience than a mere competition. The entire competition can be summed up as a reawakening and a reminder that it is the small efforts that lead to making bigger and more meaningful differences to our society.
The mission for all the participants was to provide inspiration and to convince the public that we can be the change we want to see!
Continuing the story of my participation in the competition, the first challenge for me was to earn a qualifying spot into the top 24 finalists, from the pool of 45,000 outstanding talents.
With the marvels of technology and social media, we were tasked to raise funds, host a charity drive and conduct educational training programmes for the underprivileged in our communities.
The sponsors and organisers in the UK would then verify our accounting records and validate our impact measures.
Again, because of social media, I started to promote charity campaigns done by friends and associations which I supported. I started to give talks and seminars to universities around the Klang Valley, highlighting what it means to be a
“Responsible Malaysian Global Citizen”. I hosted various coffee talk sessions with other youth leaders to gauge their thoughts, visions and plans that could positively affect their communities.
You do not need a fortune these days to connect and spread a good message. All you need is to build your connections, be willing and at times “shameless” to ask for help and guidance from others and be ready to share even more! I learnt that attitude had allowed me to connect with other influential youth leaders and charitable organisations which supported my “candidacy” for the Your Big Year competition.
However, the final challenge I had to take was to produce a three-minute video titled Why Malaysia is the Best Place in the World to Live and to Do Business.
We were given only one week to finish it. Through the focus groups I had organised, the talks I gave and the social media campaigns that I worked with, from my very own Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, Malaysia topped the 30 odd countries to become No.1 in the Your Big Year listing competition, by garnering over 9,000 votes within a week.
I could not have done it without social media. Finally, an email came two weeks later affirming my spot in the Final 24.
However, it was far from over. I received a set of flight tickets for Liverpool the following week. This was a signal that the struggle to put Malaysians on the global map was not over. I found myself now coming face-to-face with 23 other outstanding and competitive participants from 16 other countries, all vying for that one prize and title as the world’s 1st Global Citizen and Ambassador!