Chivas The Venture Finalist: DID MY innovations

This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on January 16 - 22, 2017.

Chan: In understanding their challenges and with my past experience in business, I am more determined to use my knowledge and networks to make a difference to my fellow persons with disabilities




STEVENS Chan, founder of DID MY Innovations Sdn Bhd, is the quintessential entrepreneur who takes life’s call and turns it into something valuable.

Chan’s life and business venture were turned upside down nine years ago when he lost his sight after coming down with glaucoma.

He has since been a passionate advocate for the visually impaired, founding the Malaysia Glaucoma Society and Saves Ones Sight Missions, and a social entrepreneur.

Chan’s Dialogue in the Dark exhibition, which opened in 2012, sought to help society understand the trials and tribulations of those living with visual impairment. His latest venture, DID MY, is Malaysia’s first virtual call centre operated by people living with visual impairment and physical disabilities.

It is here that Chan is bridging his past experience with entrepreneurship with his understanding of the needs of the visually impaired.

“I was not born blind so when I lost my sight, I experienced the pain and frustrations of disabled persons who have little to no opportunities to contribute to their family and society.

“In understanding their challenges and with my past experience in business, I am more determined to use my knowledge and networks to make a difference to my fellow persons with disabilities,” Chan says.

DID MY was a finalist in the Malaysian round of Chivas The Venture, an international social entrepreneurship competition that supports social businesses that can offer scalable and sustainable solutions to real world issues.

The virtual call centre leverages telecommunications and technology to provide the disabled with a viable source of employment and income.

“The emerging digital economy has opened up opportunities for not only the visually impaired, but also for communities of people with disabilities. DID MY aims to provide a platform for them.

The company trains people with disabilities to operate computer systems, take phone calls and provide inbound and outbound calling services for companies and organisations worldwide.

DID MY can be accessed and operated virtually as long as there is internet connectivity. The disabled can operate as virtual call agents from the comfort of their own homes. It is a source of employment and empowerment for them.

According to Chan, the company hit a milestone last year when it hired 30 people with visual impairment and physical disabilities. He aims to hire 200 more in the next two to three years.

Chan tells The Edge that DID MY being a finalist is a vote of confidence in the virtual call centre.

“There is a need to showcase how effective, reliable and efficient such call agents can be despite their disabilities as some companies still show a lack of confidence in them. With the competition, it helps lift the branding of the company,” Chan says.

He adds that regardless of the outcome of the competition, he and the team will continue to work hard to develop the business in order to provide more jobs for the disabled.

“With more revenue, we can hire more people and eventually help them contribute to their family and society instead of being seen as a burden,” he says.

Source: http://www.theedgemarkets.com/my/article/chivas-venture-did-my-innovations-provides-jobs-disabled

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