The Entrepreneur Series – Elina Jani, CEO of GreenTech Malaysia Alliances, Malaysia

“Try to have a strong sense of purpose in establishing your business vision and mission” – Elina Jani on sharing the glimpse of her life as an entrepreneur with us.


Elina Jani is currently the Senior Director, CEO’s Office in Malaysian Green Technology and Climate Change Corporation (MGTC) and the Chief Executive Officer for MGTC’s subsidiary, GreenTech Malaysia Alliances (GTMA), in charge of executing company strategies aimed at inculcating green mindsets, and development of green technologies for adoption and deployment in spurring the green economy for Malaysia.


GreenTech Malaysia Alliances (GTMA), a subsidiary of Malaysian Green Technology Corporation (GreenTech Malaysia) and Kloth Malaysia Sdn Bhd (Kloth) has entered into a joint venture to form Kloth Lifestyle, which will promote and market quality, sustainable fabrics made from recycled plastic bottles.


Can you tell us why or what made you decide to enter your field?

Originally, I was from the biotechnology sector. I was part of the government agency that drove the National Biotechnology Policy 2004-2020. We achieved great success in our efforts with the biotechnology sector contributing 8% to our National GDP back in 2015. In 2016, I received an offer to venture into developing the green technology sector in Malaysia by the Malaysian Green Technology Corporation (MGTC). With my previous experience in the biotechnology sector and the successes we have garnered, I personally felt it was a calling for me to venture into a new sector, as my passion remains to develop new economic sectors for the betterment of the country.


What inspires you to be in this business?

My personal passion has always been about contributing to the economic development of the nation for societal well-being via new technology sectors e.g. biotechnology, green technology, etc. The feeling of triumph when our targets are achieved is unparalleled. During the day, I wear the hat of a government agency, tirelessly working to achieve our goals for the national agenda. At night, I wear the hat of the taxpayer, constantly thinking of ways I desire in our way of life as citizens in Malaysia. With this, I am constantly motivated to think innovatively of new ways to implement our projects on the ground with our stakeholders.


What do you do to make sure that your business is thriving?

The most important thing for our organization is to be driven by a clear purpose, a clear “WHY”, driven by specific problem statements. With this mode, we can then strategically position clear strategies to provide solutions to our stakeholders. With each successful delivery that meets our stakeholder expectations, we communicate the success stories nationwide, and this creates trust in our brand, which has allowed us to thrive since 1998.


How do you scale up your business considering the challenges?

The main challenge that we face in our industry is that there is no existing Act for Climate Change in Malaysia, therefore, all sustainability efforts done by stakeholders are voluntary. Besides that, a lack of awareness and knowledge on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is also the main challenge for our business to thrive. In scaling up, we absolutely believe in carrying the pillar of Sustainable Development Goal #17, which is Partnerships for the Goals. We know that we will not be able to achieve our goals on our own, therefore, our strategy to scale up our business to work in tandem with many various and different partners, work as tirelessly with us to be One Voice and drive the same goals.


Despite the time your profession requires, how do you manage to balance work, life, and your health?

For me, the most important factor to consider to balance work, life, and health is to have a reliable resource and support system. At work, I ensure I practice empowered delegation to my team, not only to manage work deliverables but also to help them grow. At home, I ensure that I establish a daily fixed but fulfilling schedule for my children, with proper support systems to support them in their developmental growth. For my health, I ensure I allocate X amount of time weekly to focus on my fitness and stamina, to match my adrenaline-pumped daily schedules at work and at home.


What do you love about your business?

I love that we are in the business of benefiting the Triple Ps: Profit, Planet, and People. There are not many other sectors that can truly capture the benefit of these 3 pillars. From our daily engagement with our stakeholders, we can clearly see the benefits and fruits of our hard labor directly translating to green investments, creating green jobs for the rakyat, and also a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to this, I absolutely love the exposure that I have on a daily basis: meeting various different stakeholders from the public sector, state governments, local state authorities, multinational companies, public-listed companies, government-linked companies, SMEs, startups, academia, community, NGOs as well as the general public. Last but not least, I love the exposure to technical knowledge that I have gained from the various different sectors that we deal with: energy, building, transport, waste, water, and the manufacturing sector. We know that we are making a difference in our country through our business.


What do you enjoy doing as a pastime?

I enjoy any kind of fitness or nature-related activity as my pastime: running, cycling, playing futsal, hiking, camping, rock climbing, scuba diving,  traveling, and attending music concerts.


What advice can you give to new entrepreneurs?

Try to have a strong sense of purpose in establishing your business vision and mission. It is best to go on the mode of developing a technology or new business to serve as solutions to existing problem statements for climate change, specific sectors, or targeted stakeholders. From there, business strategies and tactics can drive business operations, and sustainable programs should be there to ensure relevance and financial sustainability.


What have you learned anything from the latest HASH Innovation Asia Summit 2022?

It was my first time joining in as a speaker, I would like to thank the organizers for the kind invitation. I think the key learning I experienced at the latest HASH Innovation Summit was the good exposure I had to the other panel speakers in my session, featuring sound advice from technological and business perspectives coming from the building and mobility sector.


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