Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Social Entrepreneurship in Singapore

Dear all Happy New Year!

Let me start with the new year with a reflection of the SE scene in Singapore


Youth in Social Entrepreneurship

Social entrepreneurship is a fast growing field in Singapore, given this generation optimism and passion to create a better society which we can find joy living in! As oppose to looking for typical career paths that just fill our pockets, more individuals are stepping up to seek what they can do for society.

However, what differentiates social entrepreneurial movements to non-profit movements, is that in social entrepreneurship, we seek to create a sustainable business model to ensure that individuals involved and benefiting from the organization will be able to do so in a sustainable way. Highly successful social enterprises will take a step even further and seek to create scalable models that attempts to expand the social impact they wish to create.

However, such attempts to create sustainable businesses are easier said than done. It requires much more enterprising and innovation than even traditional businesses, and hence, is also the reason why man youths find appealing!
The challenging lure that baits our curious minds to find solutions for the problems around us, is many a times one of the reasons why youths get attracted to it. 

Social Entrepreneurship Scene in Singapore

Simply put it in layman terms, a Social Enterprise is a business like any other profit-making business, but instead seek to not just make profits, but ensures that creating social impact stays within the central purpose of the organization. As such, they are active in measuring the social impact they create, and is generally much more favourable of making altruistic decisions, than traditional extremely profit-oriented businesses.

However, some may differ with this definition of social entrepreneurship, such as non-profits that wish to be more "enterprising" and create business units that attempts to raise funds beyond traditional donations.

As such, the actual definition has yet been well scoped and established, to the extent that it may be used abusively by profit-oriented company that claims to be a social enterprise just to gain publicity for itself, or by non-profit organizations that still relies on charity yet claiming to be a social enterprise thus taking risks which traditionally was not allowed by their stakeholders.

Nonetheless, I believe that definition wise, should clear up in years to come, when our generation a successful social entrepreneurs come together to define it. This has yet to be the case, because, we have yet had sufficient local case studies to look up to, and for more successful individuals to help direct the field and to guide the newer generation of work-in-progress social entrepreneurs. 

However, that being said, a number of incubators, mentors and fellowship programs have just risen in the pass few years, such as Singapore Social enterprise Association that provides great directions to youths who aspires to explore this field, or The Hub which is creating a fellowship and co-working space for social entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs to gather and collaborate, or education organizations such as Envisage Education, Syinc, Social Change by Children, Enactus (Previously known as SIFE) and others, which aims to promote social entrepreneurship or social innovation among youths in Singapore.

I am optimistic about how the field will morph, and how we as a country will grow to have many social entrepreneurs and innovators that seek to be active citizens with a genuine concern about what we can do for the less fortunate.

Resources for SEs

Resource: Click here

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