Six innovative regional businesses, which champion social change, received funding of up to S$20,000 each to help them scale up their businesses.
The winners were selected after 15 teams – comprising 26 changemakers – gathered virtually today for Pitching for Change, the finale and closing event of the Singapore International Foundation’s (SIF) Young Social Entrepreneurs (YSE) Global 2022 programme.
The six-month programme seeks to inspire, equip, and enable youth of different nationalities to launch or scale up their social enterprises in Singapore and beyond. Through customised workshops, mentorship, and regional learning opportunities, it aims to nurture a global network of young changemakers with innovative business ideas focused on social good.
The 15 teams were selected from a pool of 46 social enterprises, comprising 93 youths and representing 11 nationalities, who had all taken part in the programme’s workshop in June. These shortlisted teams included youths from China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam.
At the finale, they presented their business plans and ideas to a panel of judges, comprising industry experts and consultants from the impact investment and social service sectors.
The teams showed the judges how they aimed to make a sustainable impact with their businesses and addressed issues in areas such as mental healthcare, inclusivity, environmental sustainability, and education.
The six winners were chosen based on the impact and scalability of their business ideas, as well as the commitment level of team members. They are (in alphabetical order):
- Anahat For Change Foundation (India)
- Kura Kura (Singapore)
- Mengayu (Indonesia)
- Ripple Community (Malaysia)
- Symbionic Tech (India)
- The Green (Laos and South Korea)
Mr Edward Chia, a Member of Parliament in Singapore, and the co-founder of social enterprise Five &2 – a food business which hires the marginalised and provides meals for underprivileged communities – was the guest of honour at the event.
He said: “Social enterprises complement the work of governments and civil society to support vulnerable communities amidst complex challenges. I am thus heartened to learn that many youths today consider social entrepreneurship to be a viable career path. The meaningful participation of young people in this space can be highly transformational and contribute greatly towards sustainable development.”
In the lead-up to Pitching for Change, the young changemakers had taken part in a series of virtual activities, which started in July 2022. The SIF designed the sessions to boost their capability to run a viable business. Topics such as needs assessment, digital marketing, impact measurement and capital raising were covered.
The participants also worked with volunteer mentors to sharpen their business ideas in preparation for the final pitch. The mentors comprised business consultants from McKinsey & Company, Temasek International, Bain & Company and established entrepreneurs and experts from relevant sectors.
The budding social entrepreneurs also networked with peers of different nationalities and made new friends to deepen cross-cultural understanding, as well as forge useful business connections.
Mr Rajan Raju, SIF Special Adviser, Programmes, and Director at Invespar was the event’s Lead Judge. He noted that global challenges had surfaced many societal issues. These had highlighted the valuable role that social enterprises play in the community.
He said: “There is an increasing need for purpose-driven businesses to be able to deliver sustainable impact at scale. The SIF is pleased to support these young changemakers on their social entrepreneurial journey, as they continue to innovate and bring about positive social change within their communities.”
Ms Purvi Tanwani, Director and Co-Founder at Anahat For Change Foundation, said: “YSE Global has been an amazing learning experience. The guidance from my mentors and the workshops will be valuable as we grow our social enterprise effectively and scale our impact to benefit more people in the community.”
Mr Varun Iyer, Head of Operations, at Symbionic Tech, said: “We appreciate this chance to connect with other social entrepreneurs and industry players from other countries. In addition to being able to build an international network, the programme has equipped us with valuable skills and opportunities to create greater social impact and positively impact lives.”
Since 2010, YSE Global has nurtured a global alumni network of more than 1,400 changemakers, representing 43 nationalities and 674 social enterprises.
Applications for YSE Global 2023 will start in February 2023. Follow the SIF on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn for latest updates on the programme.
See Annex A for the full list of YSE Global 2022 winning teams and their profiles.
About the Singapore International Foundation
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
ANNEX A – YSE Global 2022 winning teams’ profiles
- Anahat For Change Foundation (India) – Headed by Ms Purvi Tanwani, Anahat For Change Foundation is a non-profit with sustainability at its core. It aims to empower women through skills development and livelihood generation. It works with urban and rural communities to raise awareness on menstrual health and hygiene, sexual reproductive health rights and personal safety education for children. Anahat also produces its own brand of menstrual pads and baby care products under the name ‘Anahat Unnati’. These affordable and sustainable products are made by the women Anahat employs.
- Kura Kura (Singapore) – Headed by Mr Arif Woozeer, Kura Kura is a mobile application that gamifies reflective journaling practices, while providing an avenue for users to support one another in their journey towards mental wellness.
- Mengayu (Indonesia) – Headed by Ms Riza Nisriinaa and Ms Saras Dumasari, Mengayu aims to empower vulnerable women: victims of domestic and dating violence, as well as those who have lost their jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic. It provides them with job training and safe working spaces to help them regain their confidence and become financially self-sufficient.
- Ripple Community (Malaysia) – Headed by Ms Kee Joey, Ripple Community aims to provide affordable and accessible behavioural healthcare to individuals with mental health and special needs. It also aims to raise awareness through community and advocacy work. It provides online and in-person services through a multidisciplinary care team, using intervention methods that are evidence-based and family-focused. It is also developing an app that can provide a holistic support system to its clients.
- Symbionic Tech (India) – Headed by Mr Varun Iyer S, Symbionic Tech aims to help people with limb differences achieve functional independence and confidence, through high-tech but affordable bionics. It also hopes to make assistive technology more accessible to the general population.
- The Green (Laos and South Korea) – Headed by South Korean Mr Jaewon Lee and Laotians Mr Soukthavy Sisouphanh and Mr Bounpaseuth Southammakoth, The Green aims to create stable incomes for small farmers in Laos with easily-accessible, carbon-reducing agricultural technology. This will enable them to produce and sell their own food in an efficient and profitable manner. With 70 percent of the Lao population engaged in agriculture, such technology can also prevent the livelihood of farmers from taking a hit from the worsening climate crisis.