Panel - Entrepreneurial spirit at its best: giving back to the world around you
Enhancing communities through business
Social giving isn’t just about charity. It can mean using your business model to offer people something they haven’t had before. Once they become clients, a company can offer them even more. That’s the message shared by a panel of entrepreneurs who spoke about giving back to the world around them.
- Datuk Tan Say Jim of IRIS Corporation Bhd spoke about the improved national security his electronic passport has brought to those countries using them. He also discussed his company’s initiatives in providing houses for low-income families.
- Bedriye Hülya of b-fit noted the sense of well-being and belonging her franchise of female-only gyms has created in Turkey. One particular sign of success, she says, was that gym members began arranging their own events at the gym. They treat the space as theirs, rather than as an impersonal place they left as soon as they finished working out.
- James Mwangi of Equity Bank Group and World Entrepreneur Of The Year 2012 identified the enormous benefits of expanding the access to banking services to lower-income customers who had never used them before.
- Brian Lee of The Honest Company explained the history of this company’s mission, creating baby and child care products without petrochemicals. By going the extra mile, the company has created an extra level of trust and loyalty with its clients.
Although all four entrepreneurs manage very different businesses, they are united in their mission of using business to give back to communities — and create a profit while doing so.
Deborah K. Holmes
Americas Director of Corporate Responsibility
Deborah K. Holmes established and leads the Corporate Responsibility (CR) function at Ernst & Young LLP. Focused on skill-based volunteerism in the “3Es” (education, entrepreneurship and environmental sustainability), the Corporate Responsibility team develops strategies that enable EY people to build their own skills while making a difference in communities across the Americas.
Deborah joined EY in 1996, when then-Chairman and CEO Philip A. Laskawy hired her to direct the organization’s efforts to develop and advance women into leadership positions. She has been named a World Economic Forum Global Leader for Tomorrow and a Crain’s New York Business “Rising Star.” Her team’s gender equity work was the subject of full-length feature articles in Fast Company and Business Week.
Deborah, a published author and frequent public speaker, earned her JD from Harvard Law School and her BA in Government, magna cum laude, from Harvard College.
Datuk Tan Say Jim
Group Managing Director and CEO
IRIS Corporation Bhd
As the Group Managing Director and CEO of IRIS Corporation, Datuk Tan Say Jim has transformed IRIS Corporation into a global solutions provider in trusted identification, payment, transportation, renewable energy, industrialized building systems, agro technology, sustainable development and education. His motivational management style with a proven history of building, guiding and retaining high-performance teams to develop and implement strategies has delivered multi-million dollar profits.
Datuk Tan is an accomplished leader and industry captain with a distinguished career as a top technology entrepreneur. He put IRIS on the world map with the introduction of the world's first e-Passport. Under his visionary leadership, IRIS has expanded its business in providing trusted identity solutions and smart devices to over 28 countries globally. The company was awarded a Global Leadership Award in IT System Integration in 2013 as a leading company in Malaysia that applies the best of leadership elements and practices to the global business community.
Bedriye is the founder of b-fit, Turkey's first chain of women-only gyms using a franchising platform model that empowers women through exercise, education and entrepreneurship.
Bedriye has grown the business to more than 242 gyms in over 51 locations around Turkey—all run by women. B-fit gyms enable more than 250,000 women across a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds to do sports and hundreds to start working—many of them for the first time in their lives.
Bedriye studied International Relations at the University of Istanbul and earned her BA in Psychology from Columbia University and her MA in Psychology from Hunter College. She is an Endeavor Entrepreneur and Ashoka fellow, and she was selected as the Social Entrepreneur by Schwab Foundation in 2013. She works actively for women’s non-governmental organizations, mentors people who would like to start their own business, teaches at universities and speaks at conferences.
CEO and Managing Director
Equity Bank Group
Entrepreneur Of The Year 2011 Kenya
World Entrepreneur Of The Year 2012
James currently serves as the CEO and Managing Director of Equity Bank Group of Kenya. Equity Bank offers inclusive, customer-focused financial services that socially and economically empower the bank’s clients and other stakeholders. Equity Bank’s mission is to be the champion of the socio-economic prosperity of the people of Africa.
James, who has over 22 years of management experience, was named the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year Kenya in 2012. In 2010, he was ranked by Financial Times as among the world's 50 most influential business leaders of the emerging markets. He is currently the Chairman of Kenya's Vision 2030 Delivery Board charged with the responsibility of ensuring that Kenya becomes a middle income country with global high standards of living by the year 2030. In addition, James serves on several international bodies as an advisor and sits on the Board of the Africa Leadership Academy in South Africa.
Co-founder and CEO
The Honest Company
Brian has a proven history of launching successful e-commerce brands that leverage technology and social media to provide consumers with a highly customized, entertaining and informational internet experience. As CEO of The Honest Company, which he co-founded with Jessica Alba, Brian leads a company that fills a need in the market from parents who demand eco-friendly, non-toxic products for their families.
In 2001, Brian co-founded LegalZoom, which become the nationwide leader in online legal services. After LegalZoom, Brian launched ShoeDazzle, an innovative subscription business model with more than 3 million highly engaged members and 2 million Facebook fans. Forbes magazine ranked ShoeDazzle as number 21 on its Most Promising Companies 2011 list.
Brian graduated magna cum laude with a BA in Economics/Business from UCLA and received his JD from UCLA School of Law. He earned the distinction as one of the 25 Most Notable Korean-American Entrepreneurs by Forbes magazine in 2009.