Two social enterprises awarded grants under Youth Social Entrepreneurship Programme

SINGAPORE - Two social enterprises in Singapore which aim to better integrate migrant workers and disabled people into society were awarded grants from the Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise (raiSE) on Friday (June 12).

They were awarded the grants under the Youth Social Entrepreneurship Programme (YSEP) for Start-Ups.

The $50,000 grant was given to Social Development Initiative (SDI) Academy, which conducts English proficiency courses for migrant workers from the construction, shipping and manufacturing industries.

Society Staples, which received the $25,000 grant, is looking to use fitness programmes like parkour and cheerleading as a way to connect disabled people with society. Its trainers include those with disabilities, and it hopes to set up Singapore's first inclusive gymnasium.

In addition, raiSE will provide advisory services and relevant resources to the teams.

The two businesses were drawn from participanting teams in the second DBS-NUS Social Venture Challenge Asia 2015, which held its awards ceremony at the Shaw Foundation Alumni House in the National University of Singapore (NUS) yesterday.

This is the first time that raiSE is collaborating with the competition.

Noting that the social enterpreise sector in Singapore is still young, Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck emphasised the importance of public and private sector partnership in growing the sector.

"For this reason, raiSE has been set up as a single touch-point to raise awareness on social entrepreneurship and support social enterprises," said Mr Teo, who was the guest of honour at the awards ceremony.

The centre, which was launched in May this year, is supported by the Ministry of Social and Family Development, the National Council of Social Service, and Tote Board.

"Running sustainable businesses that create social impact is challenging, even for mature enterprises. raiSE is keen to support aspiring young social entrepreneurs who want to make a difference in the community," said Mr Alfie Othman, executive director of raiSE.

A raiSE spokesman said the centre looks forward to a continued collaboration in the future with DBS and NUS, which are two key players in the social enterprise sector.

feliciac@sph.com.sg