31 August 2021

Largest Group of the SIF’s Young Social Entrepreneurs (YSE) Programme Alumni Give Back at the YSE Global 2021 Workshop

Seventeen experienced alumni exchanged ideas and shared their expertise with 41 teams of budding social entrepreneurs – comprising nearly 100 young changemakers – at a month-long series of virtual workshops in July and August.

15 social enterprise teams from around the globe will be advancing through to the next phase of the SIF’s Young Social Entrepreneurs (YSE) programme. SIF Chairman Ambassador Ong Keng Yong (top) said that the YSE digital platform offers new opportunities to nurture the energy, innovative spirit, and passion of young changemakers driven by a strong sense of social purpose.

 YSE Global 2021 Workshop

Fifteen social enterprise teams have been shortlisted for the next phase of the Singapore International Foundation’s (SIF) Young Social Entrepreneurs (YSE) Global 2021 programme. The virtual ceremony was attended by Mr Alvin Tan (top right), Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth and Trade and Industry and Ms Jean Tan, SIF Executive Director (bottom right).

“I benefitted greatly from the advice and insights from my mentors and YSE workshop speakers when I was a programme participant in 2018. I am honoured to have now shared what I have learned from my social entrepreneurial journey so far with young changemakers.”

That is what Divanshu Kumar, Co-Founder of Involve (YSE 2018, India), had to say about returning to the YSE Global Workshop series.

The YSE Global Programme, launched in 2010, was designed by the SIF to inspire, equip, and enable youths from around the world to start or scale up their social enterprises in Singapore and beyond.

Divanshu, whose social enterprise helps students to be more self-reliant in their learning process, added: "It was a great opportunity to give back to the programme and I am proud to be part of such an impactful network.”

The YSE alumni – from India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore – led virtual sessions on business design thinking strategies and business pitching while sharing their experience with the new cohort of YSE participants.

Prior to the workshop sessions, the alumni themselves attended training sessions to gain subject knowledge and polish their presentation skills.

Louis Puah, Founder of Praxium Education (YSE 2016, Singapore), said: “I am grateful for the mentorship and support received over the years as a programme alumnus. Being part of YSE Global 2021 as a trainer was a great way to give back and it brought back fond memories of my time as a participant. I also enjoyed interacting with the budding social entrepreneurs and learning about the impact they are creating.”

The aspiring changemakers were also eager to hear and learn from their “seniors” who are in the business of doing good. Indonesian participant Nofi Bayu Darmawan, Founder and CEO of Komerce, said: “We appreciate this opportunity to connect with other social entrepreneurs and thought leaders. It was especially valuable to hear past programme participants share their experience and how they applied the business strategies in their work.”

The 92 budding social entrepreneurs, representing 16 nationalities and 41 social enterprises, went through a series of webinars and business clinics curated by the SIF to boost their capacity to start socially good businesses.

These included sessions on social value measurement, business finance, using data analytics to make business decisions, and storytelling for impact. The teams were also assigned business professionals and entrepreneurs as mentors and worked closely with them to refine their social business plans and presentations.

Joshua Lum, Founder of Sojourner Brother, whose social enterprise aims to improve the overall welfare of migrant workers in Singapore, said: “The YSE Global Workshop has been an amazing learning experience. It exposed us to various facets of running a viable business while creating meaningful social impact. I can now tap on the knowledge and networks gained from the programme as I work on growing my social enterprise.”

The workshop series started on 23 July and ended on 20 August with business presentations by the teams. A panel of judges assessed the ideas presented on their feasibility, innovativeness, social impact, and sustainability and 15 teams were shortlisted to advance to the next phase of the programme.

The shortlisted teams are, in alphabetical order: AKYAS Sanitation (Jordan), Bullyid App (Indonesia), Kanpur Flowercycling Private Limited (Phool.com) (India), Khmer Super Plantfood (Cambodia), Komerce (Indonesia), LURV (Singapore), Magorium (Singapore), Seeibles (Philippines), Shimmer SDGs Hub Co Ltd (China), Sojourner Brother (Singapore), SOKA (China), Tact Social Consulting (Thailand), Thryft (Singapore), Vembi Technologies (India), and Zargun Electronics & Science (Zargun ES) (India). View the full list of teams profiles here.

Samantha Eala, Co-Founder of Philippine-based Seedibles, whose social business aims to eliminate food insecurity through edible gardening, said: "It is heartening to know and connect with purpose-driven young people from around the world. I enjoyed learning more about their approach to various communities and strategies on running impact-oriented solutions. The trainers, mentors, and alumni were greatly generous in sharing their wisdom. We are thankful to be part of the global YSE network. We look forward to potential collaborations in the next phase of our journey.”

For the next six months, the shortlisted teams will continue to sharpen their social business ideas guided by assigned mentors from McKinsey & Company and Temasek International, as well as established business leaders and entrepreneurs relevant to their sectors.

The teams will reconvene in March 2022 for the Pitching for Change session, at which they will pitch for an opportunity to receive funding of up to S$20,000.

The YSE Global programme has, in its 12 years, nurtured more than 1,200 changemakers of 39 nationalities, and an international network of 525 social enterprises. Find out more about its impact on its alumni and their social enterprises from 2010 to 2019 via the SIF’s “Building a Better World through Good Business” impact study.

Stay tuned for updates on YSE Global 2021 and the teams’ journeys, chronicled via the hashtag #SIFYSE on Facebook and Instagram.