The Social entrepreneurship space in Singapore is still in its early days and since 2010, Young Social Entrepreneurs, a programme which inspires, equips and enables the youth of different nationalities, has nurtured a network of youth with innovative business ideas focused on social good.
As a part of their YSE 2018 programme, we got an opportunity for an overseas study to Singapore. The purpose of the visit was to help us gain new innovative perspectives, network with relevant professionals/entrepreneurs and learn and apply further skills to scale our social enterprises.
We never thought that in today’s world where technology is so advanced, where everything is so expensive and where people are so dedicated, there are people who actually care about helping the underserved and starting a social enterprise to do so.
If you ask someone about the places to visit in Singapore you for sure you will hear about Universal Studios, Marina Bay Sands, Merlion, Gardens by the Bay, Henderson Waves, Sentosa and such but after knowing Singapore from a much deeper perspective we will also suggest people visit the Dragon Boating by Society Staples, terrace farming by ComCorp, super delicious food at Pope Jai Thai and Bliss Restaurant and finally the best coffee place Bettr Barista.
Coming from the 5 amazing days of field visit, when we now think of innovation, we tend to see where are we actually witnessing inclusivity. Innovation which serves for all kinds of people, the marginalised, disabled, single women and build solutions around them.
Preparing coffee is something we always thought was a recipe which has to be followed in order to make a delicious one while keeping the quality intact. When we went to Bettr Barista, one of the social enterprise, we witnessed more than coffee that was being developed; the lives of marginalised women and youth-at-risk were empowered via their Holistic Training Programme is what stood out for us. They are one of the certified B Corporations from more than 50 countries that have trained over 4,000 people from 30 countries to cater coffee services.
Let’s talk about boating! You think boating is fun?
Imagine 12 blindfolded people in a boat race.
What would It look like? How will they coordinate?
And if you are not in coordination you lose.
But, don’t worry if you are with Society Staples because it is their everyday job to be able to make boating possible for blind, deaf and other PWDs. They are trying to create a world where every PWD can maximize his/her potential and be embraced as an integral member of the society.
Have you seen a restaurant where the majority of people working are people with disabilities? How in the world can someone think of employing these people and creating a delicious F&B restaurant?
Pope Jai Thai and Bliss restaurant do exactly this by providing employment opportunities to people with physical disabilities, special needs, deaf/hard of hearing, mental health, visual impaired, youth at risks, vulnerable, and disadvantaged and they have been doing it for years, keeping the quality of food-maintained.
The owner of Pope Jai Thai shares the most important funda of his life which struck all of us very deep. “Never Try, Never Know”
The learning from these organizations have been so informative and encouraging that we as a team feel empowered and a greater belief in our work has been developed. Each one of us as a person has grown more and have started seeing places where even a small impact can be seen because the smile and satisfaction that comes later just cannot be compared.