Young Changemakers Of The SIF’S 2018 YSE Programme Gain Keen Insights Into Singapore’s Social Entrepreneurship Scene Ahead Of Their Final Pitching Session In October

This year marks the first time shortlisted participants were brought on a study visit to Singapore, and they received no less of an enriching experience than their alumni peers who had gone to Mumbai and Kuala Lumpur in previous years.

Participants learn communication and team work in a dragon boating session led by YSE 2014 winner Society Staples to build their understanding on how the visually impaired community navigate their environment.

From 25 to 29 June 2018, 19 teams, including the 16 YSE 2018 shortlisted teams and three YSE 2017 overseas workshop winners, comprising 40 youths from eight nationalities, underwent a week-long boot camp of rigorous workshops, group mentorship sessions, and visits to Singaporean social enterprises. The workshops, which covered topics on financial modelling and entrepreneurial resilience, were conducted by key players from across the Singaporean social entrepreneurial landscape.

Sherab Dorji, Bhutanese participant and founder of Khemdro Dairy, shared that before the financial modelling workshop with Unframed, a training academy for social entrepreneurs, he had not paid much attention to this facet of his social enterprise. “I realised the importance in assessing how our businesses are performing on a regular basis. That is, by looking at the numbers and not by a gut feeling,” said Sherab. “I’m excited to go back to Bhutan and see how I can come up with an improved financial model!”

The participants also attended group mentorship sessions on entrepreneurship and business modelling with representatives from Temasek International and McKinsey & Company, where they discussed challenges specific to their social business plans.

Nicholas Lim, Singaporean participant and co-founder of TreeDots Enterprise, said, “Most of the people we have met are very established in their organisations. They are contacts whom we won’t get to reach out to on a regular basis. The YSE study visit has been a good platform to network with the right people who can make a difference in our business.” With their mentors’ depth of professional experience, he added that TreeDots Enterprise could now run business hypotheses by them for feedback and advice, thus saving the team time from testing out ideas on their own.

Apart from the intensive knowledge-sharing sessions, the YSEs also got to discover how Singaporean social enterprises – including Bettr Barista, Pope Jai Thai and Comcrop – tackle various social issues sustainably through their ventures. They also gained insights on the cultural landscape of the island nation through walking tours at Tiong Bahru and Geylang districts.

“I gained a completely new cultural perspective when we went on the Geylang Adventures tour and saw the efforts put in place to accommodate the marginalised communities there,” shared Nikhil Mukkawar, a participant from India and co-founder of The Kisan Union.

During the study visit, the youths, who came from different parts of the world, soon found commonality, and later encouragement, from each other through discussing their experiences running social enterprises. Bicky Nguyen from Vietnam and co-founder of Cricket One said, “Being an entrepreneur is hard, but being a social entrepreneur is even more difficult. It’s motivating to sit down and share your difficulties with people from other countries during this programme.”

The network of support did not only come from batchmates and mentors but also with fellow YSE alumni. This year, YSE 2014 winner Society Staples – a Singaporean social enterprise that aims to empower persons with disabilities through fitness – showed their support by conducting their Blind and Deaf Dragons training for this year’s participants. Held at the Marina Reservoir, the three-hour session comprised dragon boating activities which included “blind paddling” where the youths had to communicate through the beating of paddles against the boat while blindfolded.

“It’s always refreshing to see new faces in the scene. It energises us to know that we have budding social entrepreneurs pushing alongside with us, trying to make the world a better place,” said Ryan Ng, co-founder of Society Staples.

The YSE is an eight-month long incubation programme that seeks to inspire, equip and enable youths from around the world to become successful agents of change. Now, enriched by the study visit and strengthened by the support of new found friends, the teams will be gearing up for the upcoming Pitching for Change session in October where they will pitch for an opportunity to receive seed funding of up to S$20,000 to help grow their social enterprise.

Stay tuned for updates on the grand finale of this year’s YSE on Facebook and Instagram!


YSE 2018 participants visit DBS Foundation to gain new perspectives on how the corporate finance sector could champion social entrepreneurship through business advice and funding.
(From left) YSE 2018 participants Sherab Dhorji from Bhutan and Bicky Nguyen from Vietnam exploring the urban farming facilities of social enterprise Comcrop.
YSE 2018 participants gaining better understanding on how the Enabling Village promotes social inclusion and employability for persons with disabilities in Singapore.
Vishal Patwari, business models mentor from McKinsey and Company, guiding Singaporean participant Aminur Rasyid of Junior Art Lab in strengthening his social business plan leading up to the final pitching session in October.
YSE 2018 participants visit The Hive at Nanyang Technological University, a new campus space designed to accommodate various student-managed social enterprises in Singapore.


15 August 2018
Singapore and Indonesia Work Together to Benefit Over 50,000 Lives Annually in East Java, Indonesia

Launch of four-year programme seeks to address the universal challenge of reducing mortality rate of infants and children under five years of age.

14 June 2018
SIF-NYC Collaborate to Build Regional Network of Young Changemakers

Singapore International Foundation (SIF) and National Youth Council (NYC) ink a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), formalising their partnership and commitment to collaborate on the ASEAN Youth Fellowship.

14 June 2018
Perspectives of an ASEAN Community from Around the Globe – SIF Launches Volume III of ‘Singapore: Insights from the Inside’

To commemorate Singapore’s chairmanship of ASEAN this year, the SIF has brought together perspectives from friends across the globe on what the ASEAN identity means to them and how Singapore has and can contribute towards a better ASEAN...

8 August 2018
President’s Inaugural Visit to the Singapore International Foundation

The Singapore International Foundation (SIF) warmly welcomed Madam Halimah Yacob, President of the Republic of Singapore, during her inaugural visit as Patron at the SIF’s premises on 18 July. More than 80 Citizen Ambassadors, SIF programme...

4 September 2017
Friends for a Better World

Through the lens of National Geographic, find out how our Citizen Ambassadors help to build a Better World.

Back to Top 
Site Map