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Social enterprises offer consultancy services, sell products to raise funds

Published on Jan 20, 2014 7:41 AM
Minds trainee Alvin Teo (centre), 28, with other trainees at SIA-Minds Employment Development Centre, making pineapple tarts for sale during the Chinese New Year season. Minds runs five social enterprise programmes. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

Charities are no longer just relying on traditional handouts by sending out volunteers armed with donation tins or organising flea markets.

Instead, more are earning the funds they need by setting up their own businesses.

Non-profits now run 30 of the more than 80 social enterprises supported by the ComCare Enterprise Fund under the Ministry of Social and Family Development.

Also, of the 153 social enterprises registered with the Social Enterprise Association, 10 have been set up by voluntary welfare organisations.

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Background story


Why do we have to ask people for money when we can earn it? Every dollar we give back is every dollar we don't have to ask for donations.

- Mr Ngiam Tong Yuen, chairman of social enterprise ProGuide, set up by non-profit organisation RSVP Singapore


It is essential that these business activities do not undermine the charity's focus and distract the charity from its exclusively charitable purpose.

- Commissioner of Charities Low Puk Yeong


While we expect income from social enterprise activity to grow, philanthropy would also need to grow further as social needs increase.

- National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre chief executive Laurence Lien