SIF backs youth to embrace social entrepreneurship


January 7, 2015


The Singapore International Foundation (SIF) saw a successful start to the fifth edition of the Young Social Entrepreneurs (YSE) programme in March. The YSE programme seeks to bring budding social entrepreneurs of different nationalities together to embark on social enterprises in Singapore and overseas.The size of the YSE programme has grown significantly since its inception five years ago, according to Jasmine Chew, manager at SIF. This year, the YSE workshop in Singapore saw 215 applications, of which 69 participants were selected from 12 countries and presented 32 projects. This is up from just 25 participants shortlisted in the years 2010 and 2011.Through the programme, participants have an opportunity to interact with and learn from social entrepreneurs, business leaders and other youth who are keen on social innovation. They also get to build networks that have the potential for collaboration.Jasmine says that that what started out as a five-day workshop is now an eight month programme comprising an annual workshop in Singapore, a mentorship programme led by consulting company McKinsey & Co, an overseas study visit and a pitch for funding to start or develop social enterprise projects. The programme empowers the youth to provide innovative solutions to address social issues, says Jasmine, adding that through the programme, SIF also seeks to grow a vibrant social enterprise sector in Singapore and the region.Since inception in 2010, 260 youths have participated in the programme, and they hail from 17 countries from Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Canada, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, the US and Vietnam. Since funding was implemented in 2012, YSE has awarded $10,000 each to seven social enterprises.