Welcome Remarks by Ms Jean Tan, SIF Executive Director, at the Young Social Entrepreneurs 2014 Workshop Closing Reception

Welcome to the closing reception of the SIF’s Young Social Entrepreneurs (YSE) workshop.

To all our participants, congratulations on making it through the past three days. I hear it’s been gruelling but enriching. Lots of great ideas and perspectives exchanged, through business clinics, visits, as well as sharings by inspiring social entrepreneurs. I heard Benny Se Teo, Founder of Eighteen Chefs, speak. And I was moved by his vision to set up a social enterprise that employs and offers ex-convicts a second chance to realize their talents in the Food & Beverage industry.

Evidently, today’s pitching session to share your social enterprise dream has your adrenalin on high - I can still feel the buzz. They do say its tough business being an entrepreneur. But even tougher, to be a social entrepreneur. Because social entrepreneurs aren’t content to teach a man to fish. Your mission is to revolutionise the fishing industry (Bill Drayton, Founder of Ashoka). Thus, I hope you have gained much from attending the SIF YSE boot camp - in learning how to use business principles to create and manage a venture to achieve social change. We meant for it to inspire, equip and enable you as a young change maker.

Thank you for letting us be a part of your journey in making a difference. The mission of the Singapore International Foundation is to ‘bring people together to do good’. This idea applies to our “Good Business” cluster of programmes, under which the YSE sits. We call it “Good Business” because we believed in the serious business of doing good.

We started YSE in 2010, for youths to come together and pursue businesses with strong social dividends. To date, the YSE has supported close to 200 youth representing 12 nationalities. After today, we’ll add another 70 young change makers to the YSE alumni. From a Singaporean and Indian team giving disadvantaged Indian preschool children the opportunity to learn English from an early age, to a social enterprise by a Malaysian to empower the homeless through life-skills training. We also have American Derrius Quarles who would offer an instructive e-platform to help students overcome barriers to a college education, win scholarships and avoid being in debt. We are heartened by these meaningful and innovative ventures inspired by the shared vision of making the world a better place.

We have many to thank for their support in growing YSE from a three-day workshop in 2010, to what it has become today – an eight-month-long incubation programme. For lending their support to a robust programme this year, we thank Asia Philanthropic Ventures, McKinsey & Company, Ashoka, AVPN, INSEAD, LGT Venture Philanthropy, the Law Society of Singapore, and speakers and mentors who have taken time to share their experiences and insights with the youth.

We’d like to especially thank our judges for offering their insights to critique your social business proposals – namely, Ms Elim Chew, Ms Karen Ngui, Mr Keith Chua, Mr Stephen Lim, Paul Kewene-Hite, Dr Yuhyun Park, Mr Jack Sim and Mr BV Vaidyanath. Thank you for your time on a weekend – it’s no easy task to assess 32 enthusiastic teams with great ideas and shortlist only 10 to progress onto an eight-month-long incubation programme. To all the YSEs, you are now part of our YSE network, and we would like to continue to engage you in our alumni activities in this business of changemaking. A round of applause please for our committed judges and yourselves!

I shan’t delay the results any further. I will now hand it over to Elim to share the results. Judges, please. Thank you.

 

 

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