31 Young Social Innovators Set to Change the World after a Cross-Cultural Journey of Discovery and Learning
Singapore International Foundation's (SIF) Young Social Entrepreneurs (YSE) Programme funds six social enterprises to make a difference.
Singapore, 23 October 2015 – An eight-month-long journey of mentorship, insights and overseas study trips to India and Malaysia culminated today with 15 teams comprising 31 young social entrepreneurs presenting their business ideas at the Pitching for Change 2015 event.
The teams, representing six countries – China, Malaysia, India, Indonesia, Vietnam and Singapore – pitched their ideas to a panel of judges from leading social enterprises and corporations. These teams had been shortlisted from a pool of 90 participants at the 2015 YSE Workshop held in March this year. To hone their business acumen, SIF took them on study visits of social enterprises in Mumbai, Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru. They also benefitted from mentoring by McKinsey & Company volunteers and access to industry leaders from the government and private sectors as well as engaged in mock pitching sessions. The site visits and dialogue sessions with industry captains across social, corporate and academic sectors provided much experiential learning and cultural insights to equip and enable our young social entrepreneurs to start or scale up their social enterprises.
Evaluated based on the impact, scalability and sustainability of their social enterprise, six teams eventually emerged as having the strongest and most viable business ideas. The winning teams each received up to S$20,000 in funding, to help launch or scale up their social enterprise. The winning teams are (in alphabetical order):
- Gap Year Guide
- We Cabs
Said 26 year old David Pong, CEO, WateROAM, “Through SIF’s YSE Programme, I joined a global network of changemakers who have a similar drive to change the world one social idea at a time. The idea of being a social entrepreneur can be quite daunting but with YSE’s outstanding network and mentorship programme, we are one step closer to realising our dream of providing clean water to overseas communities in need.”
Beyond the competition and funding, all teams took away something invaluable. Many said they found the strongest value of the YSE programme to be the international networks they gained from opportunities to learn and interact with multinational teams, social entrepreneurs and business professionals. Above all, these young social entrepreneurs were given the opportunity to make friends for a better world.
“One of the key things that we take pride in is how SIF’s YSE programme offers young changemakers from all over the world the invaluable opportunity to come together to collaborate and share ideas. Over the past six years, it has been heartwarming to see youths of all nationalities establish firm friendships founded on the common desire for social change,” said SIF Executive Director Ms Jean Tan.
One of the judges, Mr Keith Chua, Chairman of Asia Philanthropic Ventures, commented, “Today’s youth are very different from previous generations. More exposed and well-educated, they have a different worldview. They see themselves as trailblazers and champions, desiring to make a difference. Through SIF’s YSE programme, we are tapping into this energy and passion to drive social impact in different communities in Singapore and around the region. I believe that the platform contributes towards strengthening ties between international communities – making us a kinder and more giving society at the same time.”
The closing session also included a dialogue on the theme: “Nurturing Young Leaders for a Better World”, which explored various initiatives and collaborations in the region to support the next generation of changemakers. The session featured Ms Kuik Shiao-Yin, Nominated Member of Parliament and Co-founder, Creative Director of social enterprise The Thought Collective, Mr Deny Rahardjo, Chief Executive Officer of KinerjaPay and member of the Business Indonesia Singapore Association, as well as Mr Keith Tan, YSE alumnus and Co-founder of Start Now as the moderator.
The SIF YSE 2015 programme is supported by several organisations including Ashoka, Asia Philanthropic Ventures, McKinsey & Company, Expara Ventures, Google, Intellecap, students and graduates of Harvard, INSEAD, Kellogg School of Management, Nanyang Business School and NUS Business School. Joining the ranks of corporate sponsors this year is global business software provider SAP whose involvement increased the funding support for successful teams to allow them to drive deep, impactful social change.
New applications for the 2016 YSE programme are now open at www.sif.org.sg/yseapply.
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