Cross-Cultural Learnings for Greater Social Impact

Young Social Entrepreneurs (YSE) 2017 finalist teams share how international friendships forged during the programme exposed them to other social business cultures and in turn, helped them refine their business plans for success at Pitching for Change.

37 youths from eight countries and territories take a final group shot at Pitching for Change, wrapping up their eight-month journey together as Young Social Entrepreneurs. All teams are now part of the global YSE network comprising more than 700-strong changemakers.

“I have always been curious about waste management business models in different countries and wondered how they are shaped by user behaviour pertinent to the market. Getting to know the founders of Bhumihara, another waste management business in Indonesia, not only helped me broaden my perspectives but gave me new ideas to strengthen my own business plans for my final pitch at YSE,” said Pramod Bhurji, 25, the co-founder of WOW Foundation, a social enterprise that provides affordable eco-friendly sustainable solid waste management services to Tier-III cities of India.

Together with 15 other enterprise teams who place the fulfilment of a social mission at the centre of their businesses, WOW Foundation pitched their innovative business idea at the SIF’s YSE Pitching for Change event. Held at Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre on 3 November 2017, the event was a culmination of the eight-month long journey of the Singapore International Foundation’s signature social business incubation programme.

37 youths from eight countries and territories concluded their YSE journey with a final pitch to a panel of judges that included investors, corporate leaders and academic leaders. Eight months prior, this year’s batch of YSEs went through mentorships, business clinics, learning workshops, an overseas study visit to Mumbai. Throughout their YSE journey, these future social business leaders were equipped with entrepreneurial know-how, shared ideas with a community of like-minded peers and exchanged perspectives with experienced social entrepreneurs about challenges facing changemakers and the world today. Six teams finally won seed funding to enable them to launch or scale up their ideas.

Pramod further elaborated that the opportunity to engage in cross-cultural learning and exchange is valuable for any aspiring social start-up. “As a result of our experience going through the YSE programme and forming friendships with Bhumihara, we realise that our countries share similar challenges, although shaped differently by the context we operate under. This knowledge I gained as a result of being a part of the YSE ecosystem is highly valuable for WOW Foundation’s future plans, in addressing the challenge of India as the world’s third largest producer of waste. ”

Pramod Bhurji from WOW Foundation, pitches to a panel of judges, for a shot at receiving seed funding to launch his eco-friendly, sustainable solid waste management system business in India.

Echoing his thoughts was Fadhila El Discha, the 25-year old co-founder of Bhumihara, “Looking back at the past eight months, we are thankful for the opportunity to interact and learn from the experiences of youths of other nationalities. More importantly, it was also the experience of being able to learn from the communities outside of our country, as such those we encountered during our Mumbai study visit, which is something not quantifiable. ” 

Bhumihara was established by Fadhila and her two team mates Febri Purborini Raharningrum and Bryan Citrasena, to provide an integrated solution for small islands in Indonesia, ranging from waste management to clean energy provision. Bhumihara seeks to train locals on proper waste classification and establishing a waste delivery system. The team emerged as one of the six winning teams that received seed funding of up to S$20,000, together with Auctorem Solutions (India), Freedom Cups (Singapore), GigiCare (Indonesia), JM Nutrition Consultancy (Malaysia) and Lakshya Jeevan Jagriti (India).

The curtains may have drawn to a close on the eighth edition of the YSE programme but the passion and drive of these youths remain strong. They are now part of a 780 strong network of changemakers from 27 countries who aim to stay connected to inspire and collaborate with each other towards positive social change. You may read more about the YSE programme’s finale here.

Are you a budding social entrepreneur ready to take your business to the next level? Join us for YSE 2018 at Hurry! Applications close 10 December 2017. 


Fadhila El Discha from Bhumihara (centre) and fellow YSEs of various nationalities looking enthusiastic and ready to pitch their social enterprise ideas!
YSE2017 shortlisted team, SIGNS brought their business’s social mission of promoting an inclusive society right to the Pitching for Change event. The team invited a sign language interpreter to translate the business pitches for our hearing impaired guest attendees.
From left: Febri Purborini Raharningrum and Fadhila El Discha from Bhumihara, Indonesia, seek to train locals to provide waste management solutions in Indonesia. Bhumihara emerged as one of the six winnings teams that received S$20,000 in seed funding.


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