Kevin’s passion for social entrepreneurship led him to partner with Singapore International Foundation (SIF) in launching the Young Social Entrepreneurs programme back in 2010. He remains an active partner, being on SIF’s judging panel since 2013.
After almost a decade working in the world of technology start-ups in Texas and Silicon Valley since 1998, Singaporean Kevin Teo questioned whether the rapid, boom-bust cycles of the industry were right for him.
He saw an outlet for his frustrations in 2004 when he co-founded the non-profit organisation SEALNet (Southeast Asian Service Leadership Network) with a group of Stanford University students from South-east Asia. It sought to empower young people to tackle social development issues in the region.
His work as a SEALNet mentor led him to ditch Silicon Valley in 2006 and seek a more meaningful career in social enterprise. He says: “Mentoring changed my life. As a software engineer, I was attuned to thinking in systems. I had the start-up experience and was driven by my community service experience with SEALNet. Social entrepreneurship was the sum of all this.”
In 2010, Teo partnered the Singapore International Foundation to launch a first-of-its-kind programme for Young Social Entrepreneurs (YSE). The aim was to foster a network of youth interested in social entrepreneurship. He has also been a judge in the YSE competition segment since 2013, listening patiently to eager participants pitch their business ideas.