Seventh Edition of Young Social Entrepreneurs Programme Connects 114 Global Changemakers for a Better World

SIF’s YSE 2016 Programme sees three-fold increase in applications.

This year, 114 young, passionate changemakers from around the world came together as 48 social enterprises (SEs) to participate in the Young Social Entrepreneurs (YSE) 2016 workshop held in Singapore from 16 to 19 March. The YSE programme received a three-fold increase in applications, compared to last year – a grand total of 260 applications from 27 countries and territories. This four-day workshop raised the curtain on the eight-month long programme, which is designed to inspire, equip and enable youth from around the world to embark on social enterprises in Singapore and beyond.

Programme alumni came back as volunteers to share what they have learnt with their juniors – including the workshop’s emcee, Ms Huang Heyu, venture capitalist from Fresco Capital and YSE 2014 alumnus. Her lively personality encouraged the youths to actively engage and learn from alumni such as Mr Vincent Loka, co-founder of WateROAM (YSE 2015) which focuses on providing clean water to disaster and rural development areas. YSE 2016 participants took a trip to one of our supporting organisations, Enabling Village, to experience the all-accessible public space for social businesses, lifestyle and training for disabled members of the community, and to inspire them as they themselves embark on their social entrepreneurship journey.

More insights were shed during a dialogue on cross-sector collaboration which centred on how corporations identify start-ups to invest in, the know-hows to pitch and potentially get funded. The speakers shared real-life examples of the good and bad of social entrepreneurs who approached them to get funding for their businesses.

The insightful dialogue on 17 March featured (from left) Mr Alfie Othman, Executive Director of Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise (raiSE), Mr Vishnu Swaminathan, India Country Director of Ashoka and Ms Yap Mun Ching, Executive Director of AirAsia Foundation. It was moderated by YSE 2012 alumnus Mr Keith Tan, Co-Founder of Wonderlabs.

Over the four days, participants had the opportunity to glean professional insights and connect with students and graduates of various universities, networks, and business partners such as the Distinguished Universities Alumni Link (DUAL) network, Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN), McKinsey & Company and ChangeBug, among many others.

YSE web of international support and expansive networks of friends and partners were also readily available to share their expertise, insights and resources to take the participants’ business plans to the next level.

Since its inception in 2010, the YSE programme has now grown to a network of 480 alumni representing 23 nationalities. Some of the YSE alumni such as Gap Year Guide (YSE 2015) , Soüle (YSE 2010) and SDI Academy (YSE 2014), returned and participated through ideas crowdsourcing sessions during the workshop. We continue to engage and support our YSE alumni in Singapore and overseas through different platforms. We have supported YSE alumni to take part at various SIF Connects! – a series of events to promote understanding and collaborations between Singaporeans and world communities, as well as other events such as AVPN Conference and the inaugural Sankalp Southeast Asia Summit, which brings together various stakeholders to create a more collaborative ecosystem for social entrepreneurs.

YSEs and guests were invited to crowdsource for ideas for our alumni Soüle (YSE 2010, left), SDI Academy (YSE 2014, centre) and Gap Year Guide (YSE 2015, right) to solve their business challenges on Day 1 and Day 4 of the workshop.

On the final day of the programme, the participants presented their business proposals to a panel of judges and after a full day of pitching and deliberation, the judges shortlisted 16 SEs seeking to create positive social impact for communities in Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Singapore, the Philippines and Thailand. They are Valour Footwear, Praxium, L.A.M.P (Lighting Actually Made Paradisiacal), IWAK, Kandama, MorBi+, KAMA BATIK, PsychKick, NOMAD,, Riliv, Saadhan,, Hearty, Cognoscente and MySportsCard (click here for their profiles).

These selected SEs will now enter into the next phase of the YSE programme – consisting of a mentorship scheme from April to October, supported by McKinsey & Company and business leaders; participate in an overseas study visit to Malaysia, before coming back to Singapore to present their final pitches for funding.

Our congratulations to these shortlisted teams of YSE 2016! Have a great journey ahead!

For those interested to mentor these aspiring young entrepreneurs, you can find out more information on our YSE website at Alternatively, you can submit your application here.


Throughout the workshop, YSEs got to learn from various social, corporate and academic leaders. Clockwise, from top-left: YSEs learning about Singapore’s latest initiatives in fostering inclusiveness for people with disabilities; Speakers and facilitators from Uber shared the secret behind their marketing success with the YSEs; YSEs working on their Design Thinking exercise at the Designing Meaningful Solutions workshop by Awaken Group; Students and graduates of INSEAD, Nanyang Business Sc
YSE sharing their work with guests (left) and panellist Mr Vishnu Swaminathan from Ashoka (right).
Social enterprise presenting their business plan to equip university students in Thailand with online learning tools and opportunities equipping university students.
Besides making the tough selection, judges from Ashoka, Asia Philanthropic Ventures, Asian Venture Philanthropy Network, Expara Ventures, GETIT Inc, Grab, INSEAD, McKinsey & Company, 77th Street and The Hub Singapore also shared valuable feedback with each SE.
YSE 2016 workshop participants, SIF Chairman Ambassador Ong Keng Yong, Indonesian Ambassador to Singapore H.E. Ngurah Swajaya, judges, alumni and the SIF team joining YSE 2016 network of young changemakers.


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