Singapore, 18 October 2019 – The Singapore International Foundation’s (SIF) Young Social Entrepreneurs (YSE) Programme celebrates its 10th anniversary at the YSE Pitching for Change event today. Held at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre, the event saw 15 teams – from Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Singapore, and Thailand – presenting their social enterprise ideas to a panel of judges.
Since its launch in 2010, this signature SIF programme had welcomed 525 teams from 30 countries, nurturing over 1,100 young changemakers aspiring to launch or scale up their social enterprises in Singapore and beyond. From a three-day bootcamp, YSE is now an eight-month incubation programme with workshops, a mentorship scheme, an overseas study visit, and funding opportunities. The Singapore programme expanded overseas with the launch of a series of Overseas Workshops in 2016 and since then, YSE had developed strong presence in various cities including Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Shanghai.
This year, the social enterprise ideas from the latest cohort covered impact areas such as mental health services, sustainable waste management, provision of skills and technology for people with disabilities and underserved communities, water conservation, and youth empowerment.
Ms Jean Tan, Executive Director of the SIF, said: “In 2010, the Singapore International Foundation started the Young Social Entrepreneurs programme because we recognised that our youth care deeply about social and environmental issues and want to use their skills to make a positive impact on the world. We simply tapped into the passion and growing influence wielded by youth to equip and enable them with the skillsets and networks to start or scale up social enterprises in Singapore and beyond. Today, the network of 1,100 young changemakers with social enterprises in over 30 countries is a ‘force for good’.”
To commemorate its 10th anniversary, the SIF commissioned a study on the impact of the YSE programme over the decade. Key findings showed that the programme had successfully equipped participants with social entrepreneurial know-how, with over 85 percent of funded teams still in operation and more than 70 percent of YSE alumni still active in creating positive social impact.
“We are proud of YSE’s success in inspiring, equipping and enabling youths in their mission of making a difference for a better world. We are also grateful for the steadfast support of over 150 multi-sectorial partners and friends who have journeyed with us over 10 years,” added Ms Tan.
YSE is supported by key institutional partners and leading industry experts in relevant fields. Institutional partners over the years include AP Ventures (Asia Philanthropic Ventures), Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN), Ashoka, DBS Foundation, Deutsche Bank, Eden Strategy Institute, INSEAD, McKinsey & Company, Ministry of Trade and Industry Singapore, National Youth Council Singapore, Ngee Ann Kongsi, SAP, and Temasek International.
YSE 2019 Pitching for Change
At this year’s Pitching for Change event, six teams emerged as finalists and received up to S$20,000 each in seed funding. They were chosen based on the impact and scalability of their social enterprise, as well as the commitment level of team members. The winning teams are (in alphabetical order):
- Deaf Tawk (Pakistan)
- Hatch (Singapore and New Zealand)
- NATIVE (Malaysia)
- Nyampah Corporation (Indonesia)
- Parched Foodworks (India)
- Ubuntu Micro Irrigation (India)
“The past eight months of YSE have provided us a multitude of invaluable skills and insights. I am thankful for the workshops, connections gained through the study visit in Shanghai, and guidance from our mentors who have supported us in every step of the way. With this grant and YSE’s network, we are confident we will overcome challenges ahead,” said Victor Zhu, co-founder of Hatch from Singapore and New Zealand.
“I am truly grateful for the funding and support from YSE. In a span of a few months, I have connected with many inspiring individuals and organisations who are actively fulfilling their social mission through sustainable practices. I have also learnt a lot from my fellow YSE peers who are with me on this social enterprise journey. It is remarkable that while every team’s story is unique, we feel connected in many ways. I look forward to continue engaging with the YSE network after the programme,” said Ridho Awalludin Bimantara, co-founder of Nyampah Corporation from Indonesia.
The DBSF x SIF Social Impact Prize
As part of the YSE 10th anniversary celebrations, the SIF partnered with DBS Foundation to award the DBSF x SIF Social Impact Prize to three YSE alumni who have shown compelling achievements in their social entrepreneurial ventures post-programme. Candidates were assessed based on their business’s growth, social impact, potential scalability, and contribution to the social enterprise sector.
The winners are WateROAM (Singapore; YSE 2015 alumni) for leveraging technology for impact, Ecodoe (Indonesia; YSE 2015 alumni) for resilience and focus on their social mission, and Langit Collective (Malaysia; YSE 2017 alumni) for blending the old and new to create sustainable impact. They received S$10,000 each and programmatic support by DBS.
Ms Karen Ngui, Board Member of DBS Foundation and DBS’ Head of Group Strategic Marketing and Communications, and former SIF Governor, said: “Asia’s rapid economic growth against the backdrop of rising social and environmental issues has been driving more businesses for good to bring about transformative change. As a purpose-driven bank deeply rooted in the region, we believe that our efforts to support the growth of an ecosystem of social enterprises can help to build a more inclusive Asia. Social enterprises such as WateROAM, Ecodoe and Langit Collective prove that businesses can – and should – do well and do good, and we are proud to celebrate their success with them today.”
Mr Lim Chong Tee, co-founder of WateROAM, said: “We are incredibly honoured to be selected as the top three YSE alumni to receive the DBSF x SIF Social Impact Prize. We are also grateful for the mentorship and support received over the years as a YSE 2015 winning team and 2016 DBS Foundation Social Enterprise Grant Awardee. With this prize, we hope to be able to reach out to more partners both locally and internationally and together, provide for more communities in need of safe drinking water.”
The awards were presented by SIF Executive Director Ms Jean Tan; SIF Governor Mr Shee Tse Koon, Group Executive and Country Head, DBS Singapore; and Ms Karen Ngui, Board Member of DBS Foundation and DBS’ Head of Group Strategic Marketing & Communications, DBS Bank, also a former SIF Governor, at the Pitching for Change event.
The YSE programme is chronicled on social media with the hashtag #sifyse.