Singapore. In recognition of their social enterprise projects, six teams that participated in the Singapore International Foundation's Young Social Entrepreneurs Program received funding, which is expected to help grow the projects, the foundation said in a statement issued on Friday (21/10).
The YSE is an annual program initiated by the Singapore International Foundation, a nonprofit organization that connects the city-state with the global community, seeking to inspire the youth of different nations to embark on social enterprises in their respective regions.
The six teams, representing Azerbaijan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Yemen, were selected from an initial pool of 114 participants from 15 countries who presented their projects at a workshop held by the YSE in March this year.
The winning teams were chosen based on the impact, scalability and sustainability of their social enterprise.
They previously had to undergo an eight-month cross-cultural learning journey that took them through mentorship, an overseas study visit and a pitching session on Friday, where they presented their business ideas to a panel of judges.
"Millennials of today are catalysts for global change. Many are innovative and driven by a strong sense of social purpose. When they come together, they can be dynamic agents for positive social impact," Karen Ngui, leader of the judging panel, said in the statement.
"I believe that the YSE platform celebrates diversity, strengthens international connections, bridges cultural differences and further enables the robust exchange of ideas for a better world," said Ngui, who is also governor of the Singapore International Foundation.
Before announcing the winning team, which received S$20,000 ($14,000) in funding, the Singapore International Foundation previously facilitated 15 selected teams who participated in the program to receive guidance from a pool of volunteer mentors from McKinsey & Company and Temasek International.
These teams also had the opportunity to gain insights from established social entrepreneurs, opinion leaders, academics and captains of industry fat several business corporations to tap into their range of expertise in law, finance, investment and human resources.
"I have gained so much from my YSE experience. The business skills and knowledge I have acquired through this program have been pivotal to the growth of Kama Batik," said Indonesian contestant Novi Anathasya Purba, 22, who was involved in a project aimed at solving batik producers' waste management issues while empowering women in Pekalongan, Central Java.
"Together with the international friendships that I have built over the past eight months, I know that I will not be alone on this journey of creating sustainable social impact through entrepreneurship," she said.
Other winning teams are, in alphabetical order, BeBonobo, which runs a social sharing platform that connects people who have unused items with people who need it in the same town or city; Nomad, a project that aims to partner local artisans with rural communities in India to create unique crafts.
There was also Praxium, a team headed by Singaporean Louis Puah, which seeks to create experiential projects, centered on careers that align with youth interests with support of industry professionals who serve as mentors. Also from Singapore was PsychKick, which runs a mobile application, in addition to a more traditional approach, to assist clients and psychotherapists in the treatment process.
From India was Saadhan, which seeks to empower rural farmers with greater ownership of the food value chain to reduce poverty and resource wastage.
The Singapore International Foundation's YSE 2016 program is supported by several organizations, including Ashoka, a global organization that identifies and invests in prospective social entrepreneurs, and Asia Philanthropic Ventures, an entity that engages in philanthropy to encourage social change in Asia.
Other supporters are the Harvard Club of Singapore; Insead, a graduate business school; the Kellogg School of Management and the HKUST Business School; SAP, a global multinational software corporation; McKinsey & Company, a worldwide management consulting firm; the National University of Singapore Business School; and Temasek International, an investment firm owned by the Singaporean government.
With the end of the 2016 YSE, the Singapore International Foundation is now offering prospective participants to join the 2017 YSE program.