90 Young Changemakers from Eight Countries Inspired and Enabled in Singapore to Build a Better World

Singapore, 20 March 2015 – Now in its sixth year, the Singapore International Foundation’s (SIF) Young Social Entrepreneurs (YSE) programme, which supports global changemakers through an eight-month-long incubation programme, has grown with an almost four-fold increase in participation, welcoming 25 participants from four nationalities in 2010 to 90 participants from eight nationalities this year. On top of the growth in number and global representation of participants, new partner SAP has come on board, joining Asia Philanthropic Ventures (apVentures) and SIF Governor Mr and Mrs Rajan Raju to boost the platform’s funding support to S$100,000, up from S$40,000 last year. This October, five teams stand to receive S$20,000 each at the Pitching for Change session.

The sixth run of the YSE programme kicked off with a four-day workshop from 18 to 21 March exposing participants to dialogues and networking opportunities with experts and practitioners from the corporate sector and social entrepreneurship field as well as with representatives from the diplomatic community. The 90 aspiring young social entrepreneurs are nationals of China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The 2015 programme will take place over eight months, comprising workshops, business insights sessions, mentorship, overseas study visits – this year to India and Malaysia – as well as the opportunity to pitch for funding.

Started in 2010 as a standalone workshop, the SIF YSE programme today incorporates mentorship led by McKinsey & Company, business insights sessions supported by Expara, Google, students and graduates of Harvard, INSEAD, Kellogg School of Management, Nanyang Business School and NUS MBA School, and overseas study visits. The programme has also counted on the pro bono support of 68 institutional partners over the years.

Mr Willie Cheng, founding member of apVentures, shared: “I was part of YSE two years ago. Between then and now, I can see the impact it has made. Batches in recent years are significantly better. Also, the whole process of identifying, growing, and mentoring them to get to the pitching stage has also improved a great deal.”

The programme has since 2010 nurtured a 356-strong network of young changemakers from 18 countries. Participants continue to remain plugged into this SE ecosystem by learning from Singapore and overseas leading social entrepreneurs, business professionals and youth keen on social innovation. For example, SIF is partnering with alumni to lead activities as part of this year’s workshop.

The SIF YSE programme has made significant impact since its inception:

  • 12 winning teams representing China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Republic of Korea, Singapore and Thailand have received funding and been mentored to launch or scale up their social enterprises. (See Annex for profiles)
  • 66% of shortlisted and winning YSE teams since 2010 are currently operating or preparing to launch.
  • Communities across 12 countries have benefitted from the work of these social enterprises – namely China, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Said Ms Valerie Pang, 2014 participant and co-founder of SDI Academy, a social enterprise founded by one Indian and two Singaporeans: “The SIF YSE programme is the only platform in Singapore that enables social entrepreneurs from all over the world to come together and share perspectives. Rather than driving an ‘each team for itself’ mentality, YSE encourages collaboration and cross-sharing of ideas. We were able to build friendships with peers from other countries and learnt insights that were useful in furthering our cause of helping migrant workers in Singapore improve their English language proficiency and integrate into local society.”

Francois Lancon, President and Managing Director, SAP Southeast Asia, comments: “SAP recognises social enterprises as vital for connecting people worldwide in order to improve people’s lives. We are proud to be on board with the YSE programme to support this global platform that brings youth and corporates together to drive positive change.”

Added SIF Executive Director Ms Jean Tan: “The growth of the programme in participants, partnerships and funding is truly heartening and testifies to the growing strength and value of the programme. The SIF YSE programme is a platform for youth to plug into a network of people and opportunities beyond Singapore’s shores, nurturing active global citizens who promote greater understanding to build a more inclusive and better world. Moving ahead, the SIF is exploring opportunities to bring the programme overseas to markets like China, Malaysia, Indonesia and India in the near future.”

For more information, visit: http://www.sif.org.sg/yse



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