Pitching in for Social Inclusiveness
11 young social entrepreneur teams gain mentorship and insights through business incubation programme, champion ideas for social impact and inclusiveness.
On 15 November 2014, the eight-month-long SIF Young Social Entrepreneurs (YSE) programme culminated in the Pitching for Change forum, held at Suntec City Convention Hall. Following eight months of mentorship, insights and an overseas study visit to refine their business ideas, 11 teams consisting of 27 youth representing seven nationalities pitched their social enterprise ideas to a judging panel comprising social enterprise and corporate leaders.
Ideas were exciting and came fast and furious – ranging from outreach activities to engage the homeless community in Malaysia in the hopes of building a cooperative, to English language proficiency courses for migrant workers to promote safety in the workplace and integration into Singaporean society. One message was clear – inclusiveness in the community is something our YSEs are passionate about. As Yee Chong, 30, Malaysian founder of UBUNTU, puts it: “I am, because we are.”
Eventually, judges evaluated the various social enterprise ideas based on impact, scalability and sustainability. Four teams emerged winners – Eden Greening from South Korea, Jugnuu run by a Singaporean and two Indian youths, Local Alike from Thailand and Society Staples from Singapore. They each won S$10,000, to help kickstart or scale up their social enterprises. (Find out more about the winners here.)
Speaking with some of the YSEs at the reception, it was clear that the friendships and networks formed mattered more than the final prize. Said Timothy Low, 25, Singaporean co-founder of Quartz Initiative: “We’ve taken part in other pitching competitions before, but this is the first that places such an emphasis on friendships, community and social impact. During the study visit in India, we realised that although we came here for a competition, it’s really about the community. The YSEs were openly and freely sharing ideas and advice among themselves. The programme promotes a whole ecosystem of openness and that’s the kind of culture we’d love to see more of in Singapore – the culture of sharing.”
Beyond the competition, it was a celebration – of young change makers from all over the world keen on breaking down barriers and borders, to make friends for a better world.
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