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Indian Teams Emerge as Winners From the Singapore International Foundation's First Virtual Global Programme for Young Social Entrepreneurs

  • Thursday, March 25, 2021 10:00AM IST (4:30AM GMT)
Six winning teams from the Singapore International Foundation’s (SIF) Young Social Entrepreneurs (YSE) Global programme received up to S$20,000 each in seed funding to kickstart or scale up their social business ideas. It was the first time the programme was conducted completely online
 
Singapore & India:  After an eight-month programme of learning, cross-border exchanges, and online mentorship, 14 teams – comprising 27 youths – reconvened for the YSE Global’s Pitching for Change finale, at which they presented their social enterprise ideas virtually to a panel of judges.
 
These teams – from Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, the Philippines, Singapore, and Uganda – were shortlisted from 54 teams comprising 109 youths who took part in the SIF’s 2020 YSE Global programme last July 2020. It was the first time in the 11-year-old programme's history that it was run completely online.
 
YSE Global 2020
 
In the lead-up to today’s Pitching for Change, the teams first attended an intensive series of webinars and virtual business clinics in the online YSE Workshops (July-August 2020). They were then mentored by leading business consultants from McKinsey & Company, Temasek International and established entrepreneurs relevant to their sectors.
 
The teams also took part in YSE Spotlight sessions, a curated series of virtual learning journeys to Indonesia, India, and Singapore. The sessions featured established social entrepreneurs and industry experts sharing their experience and insights with our youth. Among the speakers were YSE 2015 alumni Ecodoe and partner KitaBisa from Indonesia; YSE 2018 alumni Givfunds and Involve from India; as well as YSE 2012 alumnus BagoSphere from Singapore.
 
Through the YSE programme, our aspiring young social entrepreneurs sharpened their business ideas in preparation for the final pitch. In some instance, several teams on guidance from their mentors pivoted their business models online in response to challenges arising from the global COVID-19 crisis.
 
The teams’ social business plans provided creative solutions in the areas of Agriculture, Consumer Goods and Services, Food & Beverage, Environment and Energy, Education and Training, Healthcare Technology and Digital Platforms, Urban Design, and Water and Sanitation. Notwithstanding diverse nationalities, backgrounds, and impact areas, all the teams presented a common goal of making sustainable impact through business.
 
At the closing ceremony of YSE Pitching for Change, SIF Chairman Ambassador Ong Keng Yong said: “In the past eight months of the YSE programme, our young changemakers have embodied the spirit of resilience while navigating real world challenges.”
 
“We are proud to support them in turning their social enterprise dreams into reality. The growth of the YSE programme over the past 11 years is testament to the value of bringing world communities together to collaborate and effect systemic, positive change for a better world.”
 
YSE 2020 Winning Teams
 
Six winning teams received up to S$20,000 each in seed funding. They were chosen based on the impact and scalability of their social enterprises, as well as the commitment level of team members.
 
The winning teams are (in alphabetical order):
 
  1. Canfem (India)
  2. Fempreneur Secrets (Singapore)
  3. Gabi (Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China)
  4. International Changemaker Olympiad (India)
  5. Neurafarm (Indonesia)
  6. Safewheel (Bangladesh)
 
SIF Governor and YSE 2020 Lead Judge, Mr. Lian Wee Cheow, noted that the COVID-19 crisis had heightened the need for social enterprises to address social issues. He said: “It is heartening to witness the drive and passion of these young participants towards creating positive social change. The teams’ commitment, together with their innovative and sustainable business ideas, give us hope that businesses can indeed thrive while doing good.”
 
Mr. Rahul Adhikari, Founder and Director of International Changemaker Olympiad said: “Our YSE journey has been very fulfilling and we are so grateful to have won. The support from YSE will help us to expand our social enterprise to provide a learning platform for more school children to develop into empathetic, conscious citizens of the world. We also look forward to exploring potential collaborations with our YSE peers from other countries.”
 
Ms. Akriti Gupta, founder of Canfem from India expressed appreciation, too: “I am thankful for support from the entire YSE team and our mentors. I have learned and gained so much during the past eight months. It is also wonderful to see that there are other youths across the world making persistent efforts even when the odds are stacked against them. The stories of like-minded people help me feel less alone.”
 
YSE Global seeks to inspire, equip, and enable youth from different nationalities to start or scale up their social enterprises. Since 2010, the programme has nurtured more than 1,200 alumni across 39 countries and built a network of 577 social enterprises worldwide.
 
Applications for the YSE Global 2021 are now open. Join the upcoming YSE Digital Roadshow on 8 April 2021 for more information on the programme.


Note to Editor
 
See Annex A for the list of YSE Global 2020 India winning teams’ profiles.
 
Based on an impact study which evaluated the programme’s impact on its alumni and their social enterprises from 2010 to 2019, 75 percent of social enterprises grew from seed stage to start-up stage and beyond after joining the YSE programme, with 70 percent of shortlisted YSE alumni still active in creating positive social impact and 86 percent of funded teams still in operation.
 
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 believe 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 – List of YSE Global 2020 Indian winning teams’ profiles
 
Canfem (India) – Canfem, headed by Indian Akriti Gupta, enables breast cancer survivors to have a better quality of life. The company makes external breast prostheses and mastectomy brassieres to help survivors get back into the society with dignity and improve their physical and mental health. Its pilot, completed with over 3,200 patients, showed a 93 per cent satisfaction rate.
 
International Changemaker Olympiad (India) - International Changemaker Olympiad, headed by Indians Rahul Adhikari and P Sai Sindhu, provides a platform for children in schools to identify social and environmental problems around them, and launch initiatives to tackle them. Through its programme students form teams to identify real-world problems, develop solutions, and implement them over a span of five months. The duo aim to develop children into empathetic, conscious citizens of the world with an action-oriented mindset.
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