Raymond D. Gabriel used to feed the homeless and drug addicts in Petaling Street, Kuala Lumpur, many years ago.
He would just walk around and hand out nasi lemak, spend time talking to them and even counselling them at times.
“That was how I started doing social work. From there, I realised more and more people were in need and that many from the disadvantaged community needed an opportunity (to stand on their own two feet),” said Gabriel, 48.
In Nov 2007, he decided to set up People Systems Consultancy (PSC), currently a multinational social enterprise that works to eradicate poverty, to raise the income of underprivileged communities and achieve financial inclusion through entrepreneurship and financial literacy programmes.
“We developed an intervention programme to educate and build the capacity of the disadvantaged community to earn an income and, in the long run, to sustain themselves without the need to rely on external aid and financial assistance.
“We always believe that everyone has a passion, a gift that can be used as a skill to generate income,” explained the company’s CEO.
He then realised there were many more people who just needed an opportunity to turn their lives around.
In 2008, PSC started collaborating with companies to implement their CSR initiatives through PSC’s entrepreneurial programme, which aims to significantly eradicate poverty and raise the incomes of the marginalised.
“We build their resilience by focusing on transforming mindsets and improving business skills. Through the training, participants learn to be innovative, adaptive and economically resilient to look for possibilities and opportunities,” explained Gabriel.
Through the programme, many entrepreneurs have seen their monthly income grow from four figures to five figures.
To date, PSC has trained over 30,000 people over a period of 15 years.
“We don’t believe in giving out loans during the programme as we encourage our participants to succeed through their own abilities and resources. This gives them the confidence in the long run, as well as the confidence for us to recommend our clients to provide them a loan to further grow their business once we believe that they have the ability and skills to succeed in the future,” explained Gabriel.
Covid-19 has certainly posed many challenges to various entrepreneurs.
“The pandemic and movement restrictions have forced people to go digital, as participants face challenges in operating their business face-to-face.
“Therefore, digitising businesses to future-proof them is important in this era.
“One must be proactive, innovative and pivot your business in some ways to look at how to succeed. The usage of technology is very critical,” said Gabriel.
“In our entrepreneurial programme, the training teaches participants to utilise technology and online platforms like social media to reach out to potential customers and thus, be able to run their business and generate income.
“These skills will empower them to withstand the effects of Covid-19 and be relevant in the future.”
Gabriel called for a concerted effort in helping poor communities.
“Poverty is real and does not look at skin colour, religion or race. Therefore it is important for corporations and governments to set aside agendas and come together to help those in need and those who are underserved.
“Watching the major transformations among our participants has fuelled our passion to make lasting impacts in more communities across the region and even around the world,” he said.