Malaysian among six enterprises awarded funding at Singapore International Foundation’s programme

  • Winners chosen based on impact & scalability of their business ideas
  • 46 enterprises, comprising 93 youths & 11 nationalities participated

(L-R) Nor Syazwani & Joey Kee of Ripple Community

Six innovative regional businesses, which champion social change, received funding of up to US$14,800 (RM65,000) each to help them scale up their businesses.

In a statement, the Singapore International Foundation (SIF) said the winners were selected after 15 teams comprising 26 changemakers gathered for Pitching for Change, the finale and closing event of its Young Social Entrepreneurs (YSE) Global 2022 programme.

It said 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, the programme aims to nurture a global network of young changemakers with innovative business ideas focused on social good, the foundation added. 

According to SIF, 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. 

It said 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.

  • Anahat For Change Foundation (India)
  • Kura Kura (Singapore)
  • Mengayu (Indonesia)
  • Ripple Community (Malaysia)
  • Symbionic Tech (India)
  • The Green (Laos and South Korea)

Joey Kee, clinical psychologist at Malaysia-based Ripple Community said running a social enterprise comes with many challenges, and it is encouraging to be a part of a network of like-minded friends on whom she could count on for advice and support. 

“We look forward to applying what we have learned from the programme as we continue to provide comprehensive and affordable behavioural healthcare to individuals with mental health and special needs, while raising awareness of such health issues,” she added. 

Meanwhile, Edward Chia, a member of Parliament in Singapore, and co-founder of social enterprise Five&2, a food business which hires the marginalised and provides meals for underprivileged communities, 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,” he added. 

“The meaningful participation of young people in this space can be highly transformational and contribute greatly towards sustainable development,” Chia said.

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. 

SIF said it designed the sessions to boost their capability to run a viable business, with topics covering 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, it added. 

Mentors for the programme comprised business consultants from McKinsey & Company, Temasek International, Bain & Company and established entrepreneurs and experts from relevant sectors.

Rajan Raju, SIF special adviser, Programmes, and director at Invespar noted that global challenges had surfaced many societal issues and these highlighted the valuable role that social enterprises play in the community.

“There is an increasing need for purpose-driven businesses to be able to deliver sustainable impact at scale,” he added.

“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,” Raju said.

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.