Khaled Amru is from YES ’10, and was previously hosted in Berryville, Virginia. Budaya Beat reached out to him to learn more about a social enterprise, Havan Clothing, and his experience as its Content Editor. 

Can you tell us more about Havan Clothing?

We’re a social enterprise that believes in doing as much good as we can for our community. Our business model is that we sell apparel, of which some of the profits go towards funding our own Emotional Intelligence (EQ) programs for shelter homes and underprivileged children around the Klang Valley. Currently, we benefit almost 50 children in 4 shelter homes around the Klang Valley, and we intend to expand to more once we have the funds.

The designs on our t-shirts are inspired by the drawings made by our shelter home kids in classes, so they are unique and one of a kind.

Our Big Promise is that for every product sold, at least one learning hour is committed for our shelter home kids and our EQ programs.

How did you become a part of the core team of Havan Clothing?

Honestly, it all started with a Facebook advertisement on Havan’s products. Intrigued by their vision, I visited their site but unfortunately, they were not hiring at the time. I was tempted enough to try my luck so I applied, and lo and behold I was accepted! After the usual probationary period, I was then given an opportunity to be part of the core team. Needless to say, I took it!

How did being a participant of the YES program inspire you and your work in Havan Clothing?

Being part of the YES program has taught me to ‘dare to try’. I don’t think I would have ever taken the leap of faith needed to join a startup, of course after doing some of my own due diligence and research first, if I had not been on YES. YES has also taught me to think from different viewpoints and to appreciate other opinions, which are incredibly necessary when you’re working with such a small team of strong-willed individuals.

Do you have advice for YES alumni interested in being social entrepreneurs?

YES! (pun intended)

Being in a startup, particularly a social enterprise, is much like being on the YES program. In the beginning, you will have ‘culture shock’, and will probably go through a roller coaster of emotions. But if you push hard, and adapt to the different situations, tough negotiations, and learn the culture, you will see light at the end of the tunnel.

Of course I can’t speak for every single social enterprise, but generally starting something new is a challenge, but one that will pay off if you have the right people, the right mindset and the right attitude.