Remarks by Ms Jean Tan, SIF Executive Director, at the Young Social Entrepreneurs 2016 Pitching for Change Closing Reception at Suntec Convention Centre

Good evening. Welcome to the 2016 SIF’s Young Social Entrepreneurs (YSE) Pitching for Change closing reception.

It’s been a long day for many of you, and the culmination of an eight-month long journey for 35 YSE team members. The journey to becoming a successful social entrepreneur began in March as 48 teams competed to make the shortlist of 15 teams. Since then, 35 of you have benefitted from mentoring by McKinsey and Temasek International volunteers to sharpen your business case, participated in overseas study visit to learn how others run their social enterprises, as well as heard from business leaders and established social entrepreneurs.  Today, you pitched the business plan you’d evolved and refined over the last 8 months to our panel of judges. Six teams will go on to win funding of up to $20,000 to start or scale up your SE in Singapore and beyond.

For those of you who saw the 15 teams in action earlier, I’m sure you’re as inspired as I was by their passion and commitment to making a difference – sustainably, through socially responsible businesses.  If, like me, you’ve often wondered what to do with too many things bought on impulse or no longer needed, check out BeBonobo.  For the conscientious consumer, this digital platform allows you to conveniently recycle your items to those in need.  Designed by a multinational team - Azerbaijani Jasur Hasanov, Malaysian Kay Kay Ong and Yemeni Madyan Aziz Hasan Malfi - their aim is to reduce waste by promoting a sharing economy.

To improve mental health among youth, we have PsychKick, a mobile application that strengthens engagements between psychotherapists and their young clients. It’s the brainchild of Singaporeans Shafiqah Nurul Afiqah Binte Ramani and Sayid Hafiz Bin Sayid Zin. In Singapore, more than one in 10 people suffer from a mental disorder. Youth with depression and mental illness is a growing concern. One in 5 suicides over the last 10 years involves a person under 30.  Innovative ways to deliver psychotherapy via PsychKick may just help patients better develop an understanding about themselves and to changes to save lives.

These are just two of 15 bold ideas that our YSE teams have developed. I should hasten to add here that while these ideas have intrigued me, I’m not on the judging panel! Only six teams who have impressed our judges with the impact, scalability and sustainability of their social enterprise will be awarded prize monies. Nonetheless, in my mind, everyone is a winner. Because you have all learnt from this experience and you have shown the courage and commitment to want to make a difference and given 100% of your ability to achieve this. I hope you will continue to take your ideas forward; rest assured that the SIF remains here to support you.  And I hope you will continue to tap on our YSE network - all 480 social entrepreneurs across 23 nationalities - to keep your friendships strong, build your social enterprises and make a positive impact to improve the lives of global communities.

In closing, please join me in thanking our judges for sharing their time and experience with the participants. They are Mr Keith Chua from Asia Philanthropic Ventures, Ms Melanie De Cruz from Deutsche Bank, Ms Ong Geok Chwee from StarHub, Mr Kankipati Rajan Raju - our Special Advisor for Programmes, and Ms Karen Ngui – our SIF Governor. Our deep appreciation as well for our many supportive partners in this year’s programme including Asia Philanthropic Ventures, McKinsey & Company, SAP, and Temasek International. A warm round of applause for our judges and programme partners please.

Before the results are announced, let us all enjoy a glimpse of the past eight months of your YSE journey.



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