Visits & Insights

Singapore Insights: Social Innovation and Enterprise


Siyuan scholars participated in Singapore Insights that introduced social innovations and enterprises in Singapore, through dialogues with young social entrepreneurs, learning about the nation’s creative solutions to its water needs and volunteering for environmental NGO Waterways Watch Singapore. (Above) A commemorative photo of the Siyuan scholars, taken on the roof of the Marina Barrage, after a tour of the Sustainable Singapore Gallery.


“From the perspective of man and environment, Singapore has been able to turn disadvantages into assets. Take for example Singapore’s water problem, the country has been able to overcome this disadvantage by implementing various water initiatives yet still ensure that Singaporeans live in harmony with the nature.”

Reflections by Ms Wang Mengyuan,
Student Representative, Renmin University

SIF organised a session of “Singapore Insights: Social Innovation and Enterprise” for a visiting delegation of Chinese scholars from the Siyuan Programme (思源计划) on 24 August 2016. The one-day session, for 66 students and 7 teachers from Renmin and Xiamen University, introduced SIF’s work in bridging communities to do good.


(From left) Society Staples co-founders Ryan Ng and Debra Lam share their experience of setting up a social enterprise with the students from the Siyuan Programme. Society Staples champions inclusion of persons with disability through sports. It was also a winning team in the 2014 edition of the Young Social Entrepreneurs programme. Siyuan scholars also learned about how the Marina Barrage that was developed as a result of the Singapore Water Story.

As part of the programme, the students and teachers had the opportunity to dialogue with representatives from three Young Social Entrepreneurs programme alumni – Soule, Society Staples and The Dorsal Effect. The dialogue offered insights into the motivations and challenges behind the enterprises as well as the creative solutions that the young Singaporeans are working on various social issues.

The group also took a tour of the Marina Barrage Sustainable Singapore Gallery to learn about the Singapore Water Story that tells how the nation has met its water needs through innovative policies and research. The tour also gave insights into the vision of Singapore’s waterways of the future.


(From left) Siyuan scholars were introduced to NGO Waterways Watch Singapore and participated in their environmental patrol and clean-up programme along the banks of the Kallang River that extended to the Marina Bay Reservoir. Scholars on bicycle patrol posed for a group photo at the last stop of their patrol.

The programme concluded with an environmental patrol and clean-up session with Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) Waterways Watch Singapore, allowing the students to be actively involved in a social cause. The participants also experienced first-hand the Marina Bay reservoir that was formed as part of the Marina Barrage development, a result of the Singapore Water Story.

The students of the Siyuan Programme are selected from six Chinese universities based on their academic excellence and leadership potential. The programme is envisioned as a scholarship to cultivate social responsibility and the spirit of service among outstanding Chinese students. Students are trained in social innovation, leadership and community engagement in the three-year programme.


下午的活动,让我最受益的就是新加坡去解决问题以及不足的那种毅力。 中国现在也有很多不足,我们可以向新加坡学习,提供解决方法,建设一个更美好的国家。”

“The main thing that moved me is that although Singapore has a waste problem, it has come up with many diverse ways of tackling the problem, from increasing the number of cleaners to educating the public.

The key take away from this afternoon’s programme is Singapore’s perseverance to solve problems. China also faces many challenges and we can learn from Singapore to keep providing solutions and work towards building a better country.”

Reflections on the programme by Mr Wang Bingjun,
Student Representative, Xiamen University

Visits & Insights

We run Visits & Insights programmes for policy leaders, decision-makers and opinion-multipliers to strengthen international understanding and inspire action for good. World communities are introduced to Singapore's policy innovations and way of life, to gain understanding of Singapore and increase opportunities for cross-cultural collaborations.


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