“YSE Regional has been an amazing learning experience. We appreciate the opportunity to connect with like-minded friends and other social entrepreneurs,” said Vietnam-based Ms Khanh Linh Pham, who seeks to bring her social enterprise idea, Safe Life, to fruition. Her vision is to create a mobile application which can send distress calls, connect with relevant authorities, and share location quickly. She hopes that her idea can help to save lives and give users the security they need.
She added: “The sharing sessions by the trainers, mentors, and social entrepreneurs will help me make better decisions for my projects.”
She was part of the newest cohort of young changemakers from the Singapore International Foundation’s (SIF) Young Social Entrepreneurs Regional programme. It debuted as YSE Regional | Hanoi, a three-day virtual workshop from 26 to 28 November 2021.
The workshop was designed to empower youths in Vietnam who aspire to take their social enterprises to the next level. Twenty-two budding social entrepreneurs, representing 10 social enterprises from six Vietnamese cities, attended virtually.
Their socially innovative business ideas addressed issues such as safe spaces for marginalised groups, quality education, mental health, housing, and waste management.
The workshop was themed “Unlock your Digital Solutions for Social Good”. It highlighted innovative ideas that seek to bridge the digital divide and leverage technology to solve social problems and uplift lives.
Participants took part in webinars, peer learning and sharing sessions, business clinics, and a panel discussion on how technological innovation can power social impact.
Through the sessions and cross-cultural exchanges, they gained insights into the social enterprise landscape in Vietnam and neighbouring countries. The attendees also interacted with business consultants and entrepreneurs from more than 12 organisations in Vietnam and Singapore.
Ten members of the YSE alumni network from India, Malaysia, and Singapore also led virtual sessions on design thinking strategies for social enterprises. Prior to the workshop, the SIF equipped the YSE alumni with subject knowledge and training skills. These alumni – now seasoned social entrepreneurs – shared practical concepts and their experience with the participants.
One of the Vietnamese participants was Mr Tran Le Hoang Thang, Founder of BluBush, which provides customisable English lessons for all ages, with the option to gain points through games which can then be converted to cash to be donated to a tree-planting initiative.
He said: “We have gained valuable skills from the YSE Regional programme and now see many possibilities to grow our business and multiply its social impact. I have learned how to tackle our challenges from so many perspectives, be it from our mentors’ guidance or from the sessions led by the programme alumni. These lessons are priceless and will continue to guide with us as we continue to develop our social business idea.”
Mr Chung Anh Pham, Founder of Gamma Box, which provides digital tools to optimise marketing campaigns for small businesses, added: “YSE Regional had many useful sessions for my team. An example was the session on finance management, which took a clear and practical approach to assessing the financial sustainability of our business. We look forward to applying what we learned to improve our business model and develop our social business idea.”
Participants from YSE Regional | Hanoi will have the opportunity to further their YSE journey by applying for admission into the 2022 edition of the SIF’s main international programme, YSE Global. The YSE Global and YSE Regional programmes have, in their 12 years, nurtured more than 1,300 changemakers of 42 nationalities, and an international network of 618 social enterprises.