Singapore, 04 August 2012 … After an intense battle of ideas at the Young Social Entrepreneur (YSE) 2012 Pitching for Change forum, four teams - Bagosphere, Start Now, I.M. Pad and Young Sprout - came closer to realising their social enterprise visions when they were awarded seed funding to kickstart their enterprises.
The awarding of funding to four teams instead of three came as a surprise to the audience of participating teams, supporters and guests.
“The nine ideas were at different stages of development, some at concept stage, some already in operation. Each is facing different kinds of challenges. When we decided to award four instead of three teams the seed funding, it was because we agreed that they have exceptional potential to go to the next level and bring real social benefits where they are implemented. We’re very impressed by the strategic thinking and the heart behind all the ideas,” said Keith Chua, Chairman of Asian Philanthropic Ventures (apVentures), first time partner of the Singapore International Foundation’s YSE programme.
apVentures, a Singapore-based venture philanthropy outfit, will sponsor $40,000 in seed funding for today’s four winning teams to equip and enable the youths to embark on social enterprises in Singapore and beyond.
For the four winning teams, their social entrepreneurship journey began six months ago when they enrolled in the YSE programme, now in its third year. Under the guidance of their assigned mentors from McKinsey & Co., and drawing from lessons learned throughout the programme, they successfully pitched to the judges their plans for businesses that will benefit communities.
Their social enterprise plans are as follows:
Bagosphere: A vocational training company that provides affordable and effective training programmes for unemployed and disadvantaged rural youth in the Philippines.
Start Now: The first non-governmental volunteerism advocacy social enterprise in Singapore which uses an integrated online platform to engage schools, companies and non-profit organisations to grow volunteerism and social responsibility in the community.
I.M.Pad: To produce cost-effective biodegradable sanitary pads made using unwanted water hyacinth plants, targeted at women in rural India.
Young Sprout: A low-cost tuition centre providing academic assistance to disadvantaged students in Singapore through recruitment of like-minded youth, who are in turn able to maximise their own leadership potential.
Quotes from winners of YSE 2012 Pitching for Change forum:
Said Ellwyn Tan, 27, Co-founder of BagoSphere, “We are delighted and grateful for the seed funding given to us to start our operations in Bago City, Philippines and create a scalable business.This has been an inspiring and enriching YSE journey for the team and we hope that we can similarly inspire the youths we work with to lift themselves out of poverty and lead meaningful lives”.
Said Ho Yen Yee, 22, Co-founder of I.M. Pad, “Being part of YSE and having the opportunity to go on a study trip to India has been instrumental in helping us strengthen our desire to help the women in India lead a dignified and healthy life. Our mentors at YSE have also imparted essential business start-up skills to us. Now with valuable seed funding awarded to us, we hope I.M.Pad will allow poor women in India to gain access to affordable, effective and biodegradable sanitary pads.”
Said P. Suresh Zac Chandran, co-founder of Young Sprout: “I have always wanted to give back, and have always felt sad for children from disadvantaged families who don’t have the right kind of support, and lack role models to inspire them. With young sprout, older students who have done well come back to provide low-cost tuition to primary school children who need the help, and in the process develop their leadership abilities and teaching skills.”
Said Keith Tan, co-founder of Start Now: “This award will enable us to take our enterprise to the next level. It’s about building the spirit of voluntarism in Singapore and beyond - because everything good comes from that spirit.”
About Young Social Entrepreneur (YSE 2012) Program
Now in its third year, YSE was conceptualised by the Singapore International Foundation in 2010 to inspire, equip and enable young people of different nationalities to embark on social enterprises in Singapore and beyond. The idea is to build and nurture a network of budding social entrepreneurs powered by a desire to create businesses that benefit communities.
This year’s 65 participants from nine nationalities went through a six-month program that began with a workshop, and continued with peer-to-peer sessions, business clinics and masterclasses on social entrepreneurship, with and from leading social entrepreneurs and business professionals. And, for the first time, the final shortlisted teams were assigned mentors, from leading business consultancy McKinsey & Co., and went on study visits to India and Thailand to observe the work of Ashoka Foundation (India) and Population & Development International (Thailand).
For more information or interview opportunities, please contact:
Ms Audrey Therese Perera
Deputy Director, Corporate Communications
Singapore International Foundation
DID: +65 6837 8746
Mobile: +65 9617 9005