When someone decides to take the big step into being an entrepreneur and starting their own business, a lot of questions are usually asked. “What is your business model?”, “Can make money or not?”, “How much capital do you need?”, “Why don’t you work a normal 9 to 5 job instead? It’s safer anyways since the economy is not good”.
This is completely normal when someone decides to venture into their own unique path. The social pressure increases even more dramatically when the entrepreneur decides on tackling a business that is more unconventional. This was the case with PEGH when we decided to make ESG the cornerstone of our business philosophy.
Around twenty years ago, when bringing up the topic of environmental, social and governance initiatives, most people would laugh the idea off as just a Western ideal that is not worth pursuing in Asia. However, as we’ve seen numerous times today, the tide has turned even in our Malaysian shores with local governmental bodies emphasising the importance of ESG and how many companies need to adopt it if we are to progress along as a developed nation.
Collaborating for a better world: PEGH's partnership with Scanwolf to create more sustainable products
After focusing on realizing the potential of SMEs and local businesses in our initial years, PEGH recognized the need to make a greater impact on the environment, society, and corporate governance. To this end, we collaborated with Scanwolf to develop more sustainable and recyclable products that could reduce our carbon footprint. Additionally, we launched initiatives such as RTist to support creative individuals in finding stable employment and contributing to society. To promote transparency in corporate governance, we worked with Central Global Berhad (CGB) to help them enhance their management practices and financial reporting.
As previously mentioned, our unwavering commitment to ESG principles was not always met with widespread support. Some individuals and groups disagreed with our approach, suggesting that it would be detrimental to our stock value. However, we were confident in our vision and purpose, and understood that prioritizing ESG was essential to creating long-term value for all stakeholders. We believe that entrepreneurs should similarly prioritize their values and purpose, rather than solely focusing on short-term gains. By doing so, they can create a positive impact on the world around them and establish a sustainable and successful business model.
Prioritize your values: Dato Sri Dr Sherwin Chew's advice to young entrepreneurs on dealing with social pressures
Speaking with our company founder, Dato Sri Dr Sherwin Chew, on what advice he would give to young entrepreneurs dealing with the pressures surrounding them, he said “Entrepreneurs need to reject low-quality false groups! You have to figure out what your group is for. Is it for more opportunities? To learn more experience? To learn from others and benefit yourself?”
“If you are socializing just for the sake of fitting in, I would advise you not to waste your time on blindly conforming. Rather than compromising and intentionally catering to others, it is more important to enhance your own value. With sufficient strength, people will naturally flock to you, and that is when you become a group in yourself.”
This was the driving force that has laid the foundations of our current and future successes at PEGH. Previously we had more naysayers but today, we have converted them to our beliefs, with many prominent figures in the Malaysian echoing the same sentiments Dato Sri Sherwin Chew and the people at PEGH have said many years ago.
While there are definitely many entrepreneurs that will continue to face hardship and rejection from society from their divergent beliefs, Dato Sri Sherwin Chew concludes us with these final words of advice on the matter – “To be sociable is valuable, but to value oneself is even more important. Finding a group of like-minded people is not easy. If you’re still searching, why not start by living your own life to the fullest.” (“合群”诚可贵，“自我”价更高。找到合得来的群不容易，如果你还在寻找，不妨先活出精彩的自己。)