Remarks By Ambassador Ong Keng Yong, SIF Chairman At The Young Social Entrepreneurs 2018 Pitching For Change Closing Reception, At *Scape The Treetop

Good evening. Welcome to the Young Social Entrepreneurs or YSE 2018 Pitching For Change closing reception.

It has been an eight-month journey for our 15 YSE teams. Many of you have grown as aspiring social entrepreneurs since the workshop in March this year where we all first met. I am certain you have since gained both professional and personal networks to benefit you as an entrepreneur, following rigorous training sessions together, and sharing encounters with each other and your mentors. You also spent five days together on a study visit to Singapore in June, where you met with captains of industry and trailblazers in social innovation. I heard you even went dragon boating blindfolded, with YSE alumnus Society Staples whose mission is to build an inclusive society.

It is inspiring to me that many of our youths today care so deeply about making a positive contribution to society. Many of your missions are aligned with several of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals such as ending hunger, poverty, and reducing inequality. It was my pleasure today to watch you in action, passionately pitching your vision and plans for sustainable social change. At the SIF, our role is to bring world communities together to collaborate and effect positive change. We are proud to have been able to bring our youths together and help turn their ideas for social impact into reality.

To exemplify this entrepreneurial and civic spirit, we have Kon Chhlat from Cambodia, who aims to provide better nutrition for children in rural Cambodia, by selling them a nutritious, convenient and affordable instant porridge. Elvish from Indonesia aims to improve the standard of living of Indonesian fishermen and reduce their operating costs, by converting their old diesel motors into solar-powered electric ones.  There is also The Kisan Union, with members from Singapore and India. They plan to place information kiosks across rural India to help rural citizens access information about government policies and health services. These are only three out of 15 great ideas you have, to yield both financial and social returns. If you did not have a chance to listen to the pitches earlier, I encourage you to approach our young changemakers in person to learn more about their social enterprise. We will announce the six winning teams soon but please bear in mind that all of you have won us over with your spirit and dedication to sustainably solve social problems.

On that note, I must thank our partners who made this programme possible. Please join me in thanking our judges, who have taken valuable time off their busy schedules to share their experience with the participants. They are: SIF Governor David Chong, serial entrepreneur Ms Elim Chew, CSR champion Ms Annie Yeo, philanthropist Mr Keith Chua, and social entrepreneur Mr Prasoon Kumar. We would also like to thank our funders, apVentures, Deutsche Bank, Ngee Ann Kongsi as well as our programme partners, McKinsey & Company, and Temasek International, for their generous support.

To all 2018 YSE teams, I hope your lives have been enriched by this wonderful experience. The road here and ahead may not be easy, but rest assured you are in good company. You are now part of the global network of over 900 YSEs from across 29 nationalities and 131 institutional partners. The Singapore International Foundation (SIF) hopes you will stay connected to our network for support and inspiration at every step of your journey as a changemaker. We also have much more to look forward to as we mark YSE’s 10th anniversary next year! Until then, I wish you all the best.



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