Spotlight on Malaysian Businesses: Keeping Culture Alive Through Digital Means

 

Based in Miri, Sarawak and established in 2017, social enterprise, The Tuyang Initiative, is known for its commitment to ensure continued cultural awareness with a focus on Borneo and indigenous heritage.

The art management company does so by providing creative and cultural skills and applying it to the development of its work.

Juvita Tatan Wan, Tuyang co-founder and business lead, has been leading the team with almost 15 years experience in diverse roles such as business development, product marketing and audio-visual production.

As a social business, Tuyang hopes to ensure Malaysia’s cultural guardians get the opportunity to gain meaningful livelihood through the arts and at the same time continue well into the future – and thrive.

 

 

The social enterprise also provides cultural consultation and curation of exhibitions, demonstrations and showcases.

 

Pivoting Through Digital Means

“When we started, we were a very small team, and coming from a background of having worked in large corporations, I am used to using digital tools. So with Tuyang, my team and I knew we wanted to implement digital solutions into our operations from the get go,” says Juvita.

 

 

Tuyang currently implements cloud solutions to create a more seamless accounting and invoicing services for customers.

The team also implements digital communications platforms such as Slack for better communication and productivity among members of the business.

“Before the pandemic, we were used to having catch ups and general updates face to face but currently that is not possible, making these tools a necessity for us,” Juvita points out.

In terms of e-commerce, Juvita says while that has been in the back of her mind, the real challenge was to get her practitioners to utilise these tools.

Due to factors that include old age and rural locations that lacked quality connections, it appeared to be more of a struggle.

However, the travel restrictions also forced Tuyang to be more creative in terms of implementing digital tools.

What was initially isolating for many of its practitioners, Juvita says current circumstances had forced them to better understand the importance of digital tools.

For Tuyang, cloud solutions were used to provide a more efficient accounting and invoicing operations. This allowed for the team to lessen the paperwork load of the operations and focus more on servicing their clients seamlessly.

Additionally, her practitioners were also introduced to video chat tools such as Zoom in order to showcase their art to the viewers from Malaysia and beyond.

 

 

“We hosted a mini workshop to tutor them on the usage of these tools. From our operations side, our team had to familiarise ourselves with some tools very quickly, for instance cloud invoicing and digital accounting among others,” she says.

The challenges posed by the pandemic did pose a financial challenge to Tuyang but through virtual talks and performance, Juvita says the social enterprise managed to pivot accordingly, and generate a decent amount of revenue.

 

Overcoming Cyber Threats

“I think cyber security issues were definitely at the back of our mind, but with our backs against the wall, survivability was our main concern,” Juvita highlights. Fortunately, the team knew better and exercised caution to ensure data was protected the best way it could.

“Zoom was among the earliest digital tools we had and while at the beginning, there were cybersecurity concerns, we used it with better evaluation from the team,” she says.

Juvita also points out that even among elder practitioners, concerns rose about information leak and privacy concerns.

However, with the proper guidance, the Tuyang team managed to convince them that the digital tools were equipped with secure line of defences.

 

Taking the Digital Leap

Concerns are a common aspect when it comes to taking the digital leap. Businesses are often worried about financial costs and the additional challenges of adopting digital tools.

“What I would say to them is to not be fearful but to look at these tools as a way to enhance opportunities and collaborations. I think one silver lining of the pandemic is that it made the world become borderless and these tools were responsible for that,” she says.

“Digital tools also enabled my team to be more ready and willing to take on challenges because the process of familiarising themselves with these tools also helped them grow,” she adds.

In the long term, Juvita says Tuyang will be maintaining every digital tool the team is currently using. For the social enterprise, digital tools have allowed it to transcend borders and collaborate with other organisations in other countries.

Juvita shares that Tuyang will soon unveil a new physical show, made possible through a year-long virtual collaboration with a renowned international orchestra for an upcoming festival in 2022.

Support Tuyang by visiting them here. A homegrown business highlight by Celcom Business.

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