Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Reflections by Jeremy Awyong, Founder and Director of Envisage, on the field trip to Philippines

I think that whilst the concept of a 'social enterprise' might sound new in Philippines, it is really the most sustainable way to invoke a sustainable social change. What better way can we make someone more passionate and devoted into creating social changes, other then to make it into his/her career. For Singaporeans of my generation, we were drilled to become corporate workers and having realized the meaning of social entrepreneurship at such a late age, I feel that much more could have been done if I were to come to know of this concept earlier.

Philippines is a country with vast resources and human talent. From the handicrafts I have seen in Signal Village and the vocational training in Tuloy, I see vast potential to bud young entrepreneurs. And in order to do so, an entrepreneurial spirit has to be imparted at a young age. For example, a young technician who has just graduated from Tuloy, instead of working for another employer, he can start giving out flyers in the city and charge air-conditioner repairs at below market rate. This way, he can slowly gain experience and learn entrepreneurial skills along the way. (Note that the children @ Tuloy are taken in from street gangs and orphanages)

Last but not least, I fell that the most important thing that I have learnt in this trip is the need to be truthful and welcoming in everything you do. Through the interactions with everyone there, I feel that everyone was passionate about what they were doing, especially Father Rocky. And the hospitality that The Rotary Club, Philippines, gave to us was tremendously unforgetable. 

My company's mission is to increase empathy and to raise more social entrepreneurs in the region and. ultimately, the world. Thus we see great potential in using our programmes to collaborate with either Tuloy or the beneficiary schools under the Rotary Club, Philippines, to train more social entrepreneurs. You may like to visit our website at, to know more about what we do and the programmes we have. Lets keep in contact and be sure that you will be hearing from us again!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

You think you know all about Financial literacy, but have yet done nothing to even have your own savings or financial plan?

FINEX welcomes you to your Financial Expedition! Where we will bring you through a journey to achieve financial success!

This first workshop will be an introduction to a year long program, where we will help you achieve the following objectives by the end of the year:
1. Nurture discipline in managing your personal finance
2. Establish an accountability system to sustain your discipline
3. Acquire knowledge about the 3 steps of financial literacy - Budgeting, Financial planning and Investments!

Sign up and make payment here: Secured Online Payment here!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

NTC Seminar on: The Way to China Innovation

Speaker: Michael Lin
Founder & CEO of
Intellectual Property Exchange (

Mr Lin started off with an informative and insightful introduction to the background of China's innovation. He stated that for anyone to truly understand China's innovation and entrepreneurship environment, one has to have understanding and knowledge of China's historical events that molded China to what it has become today.

The China Revolution started off with the removal of the monarchy, when the common men no longer are seen as slaves to the emperor. However, at that time, it was just a dream, as there were still social classes that clearly determines the income of the people belonging to each class, which widened the income gap between these social classes.

In Mao's era, China's economy didn't grow very much, due to over-investments into the military, while living standards remained poor and unchanged.

In Deng's and Jiang Zhe Ming's Era, between 1978-2004, GDP did began to grow. However, Deng's elitist vision of letting small groups of people first become rich, then lead the others to equal income standards, eventually failed. This was because the continually widening income gap started to create much social unrest which effects were underestimated.
When everyone was poor, there wasn't such problems, because everyone suffered together.
However, when the poor witness the rich getting richer, they felt that they were left behind (Not unexpected, and not without reason).

Now in this 21st century, we might think that China is a growing economical giant, however the truth is that behind the flourishing 1st tier cities, the 2nd to 3rd tier provinces have infact became poorer, and living standards remain unchanged for centuries, while only the 1st tier provinces have became richer and richer.

Critical definition: Innovation is the usage of ideas and methodologies, while inventions is the creation of new ideas, products and methodologies.

The Global Innovation Index
The Global innovation index of Singapore ranks 1st, while China ranks 21st. however, in terms of innovation inputs, Singapore has a score of 2.89 to achieve an innovation performance of 2.01. While China ranking 21st, has an input of 0.06, with a performance of 1.96.

Thus, looking at these indexes from the angel of Return of Investments (ROI), China has a much more impressive ratio than Singapore! Why is that so?

Due to simple probability and the clustering effect, China must have a  higher percentage of talents that have exceptional foresight and intelligence in leading and creating economic progress, and when placed together, they benefit from the effects of sharing knowledge, resources and networks to achieve wonders.

Nevertheless, Singapore's strategic port location, was deemed by Mr Lin as much underestimated, in its importance and strategic leverage which Singapore has been blessed with. Due to our competitiveness in the shipping industry, Singapore pretty much controls the flow of resources (Especially energy and other commodities) among some of the riches countries in Asia.

Threat or Opportunity? The Chinese Middle Class
The Chinese middle class of urban professionals and entrepreneurs with college education, annual income between US$10-60k and average age of 35, continues to grow to become one of the most threatening demographic which all Singaporeans should be aware of!

There are currently over 300million of them, who comprise of about 25% of the total population, and is expected to grow to 612million by 2025 (40% of population), that is 60-100 times larger than what Singapore can offer! And they do not just compete within China, but instead are obviously seen competing all over the world.

However, this is inevitable, and instead of seeing it as a growing threat, it is more rational to decide to leverage on the inevitable, and transform them into collaborative/business opportunities. If there is a potentially successful Chinese right within your network of friends, appreciate them, embrace them, work with them, and collaborate to achieve mutual financial success and benefits!

China Innovation is a MUST!
1. China is starting to peak as a low-cost export manufacturing platform, and to remain competitive, they have to do transform their strategic economic focus.
2. To maintain its dynamic industrial growth, China must and will innovate!
3. Graduates are earning lesser, while housing and standards of living continues to rise, hence more people has to become job creators rather than job seekers!

Chinese Innovation
A. Build Operate Transfer (BOT) Business Model
Examples: 5 stars hotels in China
The governmental strategy of growing infrastructure through private enterprise investments without needing the country to invest their own capital other than the right to use th land for 20 years, and take over the entire enterprise, 20 years later.

B. Design Build Finance Operate (DBFO) Business Model
Examples: Highways
The government allow private enterprises to invest huge amount of capital in high-risk capital intensive infrastructure developments, and allow them to profit from it, infinitely.

C. Build Own Operate (BOO) Business Model
Examples: China Unicom
The government allow private enterprise to invest in building companies and co-own businesses.

China's Business Innovation Driving Forces and Opportunities
Contemplate on the following points to discover reasons behind why each has been labeled under their respective categories.

Areas where business opportunities might arise:
A. China's current strengths
- Improved quality
- Create new market
- Extend product range
- Improve production processes

B. Current opportunities
- Reduce materials used
- Reduce labor costs
- Replacement of products/service

C. Rising stars in China
- Conformance to regulations
- Reduce energy consumption
- Reduced environmental damage

Most important advise for enterprises entering China's market

FIND a reliable local partner!
DO NOT go in alone!
It seems to be almost unthinkable and entirely impossible to succeed without a local partner in China.

What Singapore youths are lacking, in terms of knowledge or attitude?
1. Comfort zone
- Singaporeans tends to grow to become comfortable with small successes.
- They have no desire and no ambition to become the BEST!
- Typically people will say "Why do you have to be so greedy?"
- While in China, EVERYONE wants to be the BEST and the BIGGEST!

2. Singapore market is too small
- Its scale and potential is limited
- To be successful, we have to think beyond our national boundaries!
- However, most of us lacks the ambition, drive, determination and imagination to do so!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Field Trip to Philippines

Hi all

Sorry for not posting regularly pass few months. Have been really busy with working with a few start-ups and social enterprises! Whew~~~ But its been a blast, trying to change the world, one step at a time!

I will be visiting Philippines and Gawak Kalinga from 11th to 15th Jan 2012! Hope that we will really learn a lot from such an established organization, and built strong relationships with the Rotarians accompanying us in our trip.

I promise to share my experiences there! ;)