11 March 2022
Press Releases

Tech-Driven Social Enterprises in the Spotlight at the Young Social Entrepreneurs Global 2021 Programme

After eight months of learning and mentorship, six winning teams receive up to S$20,000 each to help them launch or scale up their social businesses.

Singapore, 11 March 2022 – Six social enterprises today received a shot in the arm to the tune of up to S$20,000 each to help them build their business.

This came after 12 teams – comprising 24 changemakers – gathered virtually to complete the final part of the Singapore International Foundation’s (SIF) Young Social Entrepreneurs (YSE) Global 2021 programme.

These teams – from Cambodia, China, Jordan, India, Indonesia, Thailand, and Singapore – were shortlisted from a larger pool of 41 teams, comprising 109 youths representing 16 nationalities. They had taken part in the YSE Global 2021 – Workshop from July to August 2021.

This year, nearly 70 percent of the solutions proposed by the participating teams were technology-driven – a three-fold increase from the previous edition, and a new record for the programme. From deep tech, assistive tech to digital platforms, the teams leveraged technology and innovation to address issues in the areas of inclusivity, sustainability, sanitation, healthcare, and education. Their aim to make a sustainable impact with their businesses also aligned with the global ethos of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

For today’s finale, called Pitching for Change, the shortlisted teams presented their social business ideas to a panel of judges. The six winners were chosen based on the impact and scalability of their business ideas, as well as the commitment level of team members.

The winning teams are (in alphabetical order):

  1. AKYAS Sanitation (Jordan)
  2. Kanpur Flowercycling Private Limited (Phool.co) (India)
  3. Khmer Super Plantfood (Cambodia)
  4. Sojourner Brother (Singapore)
  5. TACT (Thailand)
  6. VEMBI (India)

Ms Carrie Tan, Founder of social enterprise Daughters Of Tomorrow and a Member of Parliament in Singapore, graced the virtual award and closing ceremony.

She said: “The work of social entrepreneurs is so important as they pursue new, sustainable ways to address unmet social and environmental needs of their communities. It is heartening to witness the passion, commitment and resilience of these young participants in achieving their social missions.

In the lead-up to Pitching for Change, the young changemakers participated in a series of webinars and virtual business clinics. The SIF designed the sessions to raise their capability and confidence in developing socially good business.

The participants also worked with assigned volunteer mentors for eight months to sharpen their business ideas in preparation for the final pitch. The pool of mentors comprised leading business consultants from McKinsey & Company, Temasek International, Bain & Company and established entrepreneurs and experts relevant to their sectors.

The teams also took part in YSE Spotlight sessions, a series of online activities to broaden their perspectives and learn about the social entrepreneurship ecosystems in different Asian countries. The sessions featured established social entrepreneurs and industry experts sharing their experience and insights.

Participants also networked with peers of different nationalities, gained deeper cross-cultural understanding, made new friends, and forged business connections through online sharing and discussions.

SIF Governor and YSE Global 2021 Lead Judge, Ms Ng Shin Ein, noted that there is a growing pool of tech-savvy youths globally who are driven by a keen sense of social purpose to create positive change.

She said: “It is truly an exciting time for social innovation. Technology has created many opportunities for young entrepreneurs to make a difference in a sustainable manner. They have developed innovative solutions for pressing social and environmental challenges, with dual bottom lines of profit and impact. The SIF is proud to support these social enterprises in their journey to create greater social impact.”

Mr Joshua Lum, Founder of Singapore-based Sojourner Brother said: “My social enterprise strives for a day where all migrants can lift their family out of poverty through having improved access to job opportunities, and experience positive employment outcomes. The skills, network, support, and funding gained through the YSE Global programme will help us as we look to take our social enterprise to greater heights."

Ms Sophia Tan from Singapore, Co-founder at Jordan-based AKYAS Sanitation said: “Running a social enterprise comes with many challenges, and it is great to know that we are part of the larger YSE network of like-minded friends whom we can count on for advice and support. We are looking forward to putting what we have learnt to good use as we pilot our service in Bangladesh and work to provide affordable sanitation solutions to communities who lack access to safely managed sanitation.”

Ms Sereysothea Sao, Co-Founder of Khmer Super Plantfood from Cambodia said: "I am thankful for support from the organising team, our mentors, and fellow participants. I have gained so much in the past eight months. It is also encouraging to know that there are other youths around the world who are as determined to make a difference in their communities. This helps me feel less alone on my social entrepreneurial journey."

YSE Global seeks to inspire, equip, and enable youth from different nationalities to start or scale up their social enterprises. This SIF signature programme has, in its 12 years, nurtured more than 1,300 alumni of 42 nationalities and a global network of 628 social enterprises.

Applications for the YSE Global 2022 are now open. Join the upcoming YSE Global 2022 - Virtual Roadshows for more information on the programme.