Adli of Autism Cafe Project says, ‘A small dream comes from a big heart’

By Nurul Ellysha and Syarifah Norhaida Farisya

Gombak, 21 December 2023: The Exhibition of Empowering Persons with Disabilities through Entrepreneurship was held today at the Human Sciences Square of the Human Sciences Building at IIUM Gombak. starting from 8.30 a.m. with the synergy of eight organizations that are associated with persons with disabilities (PwDs). The Autism Cafe Project (ACP) was one organisations that played an instrumental part in the exhibition. It is an organization that gets the spotlight on social media platforms under the guidance of its founder, Mr. Mohd. Adli Bin Yahya.

ACP aims to provide training and empower young adults with autism spectrum disorder to be entrepreneurs or be a part of entrepreneurship. ACP started in 2016 intending to empower Luqman, Mr. Mohd. Adli’s son who was diagnosed with autism spectrum—the commitment and effort of Mr. Adli grabbed the attention of the public and inspired all parents who have children with autism.

ACP is an eye-opener that supports the mindset that autism is not a barrier to a guaranteed life. The project’s mission is to create a sustainable future by focusing on children with autism and by promoting social acceptance. ACP has reached its goal according to Adli.

“Luqman has improved his attention and focusing span, plus his capability of understanding our instructions. The cooking session and the DIY bracelet ideas are mechanisms to improve their survival and creative thinking skills. We got a lot of support from people and managed to expand our kitchen,” mentioned Mr. Mohd Adli.

The cooking and creative thinking skills were demonstrated through the exhibition as ACP brought in some special items to be sold at the exhibition, such as handmade bead bracelets, homemade cookies, and maruku. They also had handed out some gingerbread biscuits free of charge. Luqman, made handmade bracelets, and customers could customise their own colour and pattern of beads by selecting them beforehand. The handmade bead bracelets were sold for only RM15 at the exhibition.

The exhibition was a platform for students to understand how Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) works. One of the ways that ACP promotes its brand is through IMC, a strategic approach to delivering a consistent and coherent message across different channels and marketing communication tools. IMC helped ACP to reach and engage with its target audience; they include potential customers, donors, partners, and the media. Some of the IMC tools that ACP uses are social media, which are Facebook and Instagram accounts that post updates, photos, videos, testimonials, and events related to its cafe and activities.

The social media accounts have over 12,000 followers and have received positive feedback and support from the public. ACP also uses Instagram and YouTube to showcase its products and stories. ACP also participates in and organises various events, such as workshops, talks, bazaars, festivals, and competitions, to showcase its products and services, and to network and collaborate with other stakeholders. For example, ACP joined the Selangor International Business Summit 2021 as an exhibitor, where it displayed its merchandise and food items. ACP also hosted the Autism Awareness Day 2021 at its cafe, where it invited guests, speakers, and performers to celebrate and support the ASD community.

Through these IMC tools, ACP is able to communicate its unique value proposition and social impact to its audience, as well as to build trust and loyalty among its customers and partners. ACP’s IMC strategy also helps it to differentiate itself from other food and beverage businesses and social enterprises, as well as to achieve its business and social goals.

Thus, it is hoped that the exhibition would kill two birds with one stone as it is a platform for spreading awareness about PwDs while applying IMC principles, practically. ***

(This article was written as an assignment for COMM3502: Corporate Writing.)