Fifteen social enterprise teams, comprising 32 participants of seven nationalities, have been shortlisted for the next phase of the Singapore International Foundation’s (SIF) Young Social Entrepreneurs (YSE) Global 2021 programme.
The YSE Global programme, now in its 12th year, aims to inspire, equip and enable youths from around the globe to start or scale up their social enterprises in Singapore and beyond. Participants learn new skills that empower them to shape and strengthen their business models while establishing professional networks for potential collaboration and sustainable growth.
The shortlisted teams were selected from 41 teams, comprising 92 participants of 16 nationalities, who attended the YSE Global 2021 – Workshop, a series of webinars and virtual business clinics designed by the SIF to boost the participants’ capability to do socially good business. Held from 23 July to 20 August, this was second time the programme was conducted fully online.
The participating teams presented their business plans to a panel of judges on the final day of the Workshop and were assessed based on their potential for significant social impact, promise of sustainability and scalability of the business model.
Their business ideas sought to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, such as addressing climate change, promoting inclusive and equitable quality education for all and leveraging technology to empower vulnerable communities.
The shortlisted teams were announced at the virtual closing ceremony of the Workshop, which was attended by Mr. Alvin Tan, Singapore’s Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth and Trade and Industry.
MOS Tan said: “Social entrepreneurs play important roles as change agents in society. They are purpose-driven and relentlessly pursue new opportunities to address pressing social issues. In the current global crisis, we need social entrepreneurs more than ever. They catalyse community efforts that will help us overcome our current challenges and drive us in to the sustainable future we aspire to build. I hope that our participants will continue to nurture the YSE network, support one another in their social entrepreneurship journey and succeed in their pursuit of purpose, profit and passion.”
This year, the participants attended sessions on data analysis, finance and impact measurement, gaining skills and expertise required to become effective social entrepreneurs. Members of the YSE Global alumni network from India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore also returned to share their valuable experience and conducted design thinking workshops.
Through a series of online activities, the participants also networked with like-minded peers of different nationalities, gained deeper cross-cultural understanding, made new friends and forged helpful business connections.
Over the next six months, the shortlisted teams will be mentored by leading business consultants from McKinsey & Company, Temasek International, and established entrepreneurs relevant to their sectors. The teams will work with their mentors to sharpen their business acumen and broaden their cultural perspectives through an online series to learn about the social entrepreneurship ecosystems in different Asian cities.
In March 2022, the teams will reconvene at the YSE Global 2021 Pitching for Change event. They will then present their refined business plans for a chance to receive funding of up to S$20,000 each.
Ms. Jean Tan, Executive Director, SIF said: “Connecting people of different cultures to inspire collaboration and action for good is at the heart of the SIF’s work. Through the YSE Global programme, we leverage the passion and purpose of youths as global citizens to ignite positive social change.”
The shortlisted participants are excited about the next chapter of their YSE journey. Mr. Anup Misal, Associate (Founder’s Office), of Kanpur Flowercycling (Phool) from India said: “It has been a rewarding experience. It is humbling to connect with like-minded friends, from all around the world, who are also passionate about making a difference in their communities. My team and I are looking forward to working with and learn from our mentors in the months ahead.”
Mr. Bo Wang, Co-Founder of Shimmer SDGs Hub Co from China said: “The YSE Global 2021 – Workshop was such a wonderful experience. We appreciate this chance to network with other social entrepreneurs and thought leaders despite the travel restrictions. It was especially fascinating to hear past programme participants sharing their experience. Listening and learning from those who have been through similar challenges and have overcome them is truly valuable. We are looking forward to what’s in store in the coming months.”
Ms. Agita Pasaribu, Founder and Executive Director of Bullyid App from Indonesia said: “I joined the YSE Global programme because I know that I will have access into a “mover and shaker” network. One that has the right connections to help Bullyid App gain traction and step into the spotlight. It is encouraging to know that there are other youths like me out there who want to make a positive impact in their communities. All the teams are truly inspiring, and I am very honoured to be shortlisted for the next stage of YSE.”
Mr. Eddie Lim, Co-Founder and CEO of Thryft, said: “The programme introduced us to innovative projects with inspiring social and environmental causes from Singapore and around the world, giving me an eye-opening experience. It is great to be a part of a global network of young social entrepreneurs and I feel like I have already learnt so much from my fellow participants, as well as the speakers from the workshops. This has been an enriching journey for me, and I hope to achieve great things in the coming months as I work with my mentors.”
This SIF signature programme has so far nurtured more than 1,200 alumni of 39 nationalities and a global network of 525 social enterprises. The SIF’s study, “Building a Better World through Good Business” evaluated the YSE Global programme’s impact on its alumni and their social enterprises from 2010 to 2019. It found that 75 per cent of social enterprises grew from seed to start-up stage and beyond after joining the YSE Global programme, while 86 per cent of funded teams are still in operation.
The YSE Global programme is chronicled on social media with the hashtag #sifyse.
The Singapore International Foundation makes friends for a better world. We build enduring relationships between Singaporeans and world communities and harness these friendships to enrich lives and effect positive change. Our work is anchored in the belief that cross-cultural interactions provide insights that strengthen understanding. These exchanges inspire action and enable collaborations for good. Our programmes bring people together to share ideas, skills and experiences in areas such as healthcare, education, arts and culture, as well as livelihood and business. We do this because we all can and should do our part to build a better world, one we envision as peaceful, inclusive, and offering opportunities for all. Find out more at www.sif.org.sg