President's Challenge Social Enterprise Awards 2019 to push for the adoption of cutting-edge technology

(From left) raiSE chairman Gautam Banerjee, PCSEA committee chairman Tan Soo Nan, President Halimah Yacob, Bliss Group founder Christine Low and raiSE CEO Alfie Othman at the official opening of Tribe by Bliss Group, which won the PCSEA Social Enterp
(From left) raiSE chairman Gautam Banerjee, PCSEA committee chairman Tan Soo Nan, President Halimah Yacob, Bliss Group founder Christine Low and raiSE CEO Alfie Othman at the official opening of Tribe by Bliss Group, which won the PCSEA Social Enterprise of the Year in 2013.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

SINGAPORE - The evaluation criteria for this year's prestigious President's Challenge Social Enterprise Awards (PCSEA) has been updated to include efforts at adopting cutting-edge technology like artificial intelligence and virtual reality.

This was announced at the launch of the PCSEA 2019 on Tuesday (June 11) at The Arts House.

"Technology is a great enabler, therefore we want our social enterprises to be sustained for a long time, to be able to make greater social impact, multiply and grow. So we do need to leverage on that," said President Halimah Yacob.

Last month, the President also emphasised that Singapore should leverage technology to better integrate those with special needs, a group of people employed by many social enterprises including Bliss Group, PCSEA 2013's Social Enterprise (SE) of the Year winner.

Referring to the new criteria, Bliss Group founder, Christine Low, said that it was exploring the use of robots to deliver their food, a concept that has been adopted in San Francisco. 

“We are exploring the use of robots to deliver food from our restaurants. For example, our newly opened Tribe restaurant at The Arts House can use GPS to cross the street to National Gallery and deliver the food. The CCTV attached to the robot can be monitored by the back end,” said Ms Low.

The cash prize for the existing SE of the Year and SE Start-Up of the Year awards have been raised to S$70,000 and $50,000 respectively this year.

 
 

Winners will also receive support from corporate partners and development opportunities from Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise through networking opportunities, access to funding and advisory services.

In addition, a new SE Champion of the Year award, which recognises corporations and individuals who have made significant contributions to social enterprises in Singapore, has been introduced.

"The idea is to encourage more companies and individuals to come forward and partner the social enterprises in many different ways," said Madam Halimah.

She added that this included activities such as procurement, transferring of knowledge and skills as well as investing in the social enterprises.

This is the fifth edition of the PCSEA, a biennial award conferred by the President's Office that honours exceptional social enterprises in Singapore for their contributions made to the local community.

Applications for this year's PCSEA are open from now until July 12. Winners will be announced and the awards will be presented on Nov 28 at the Istana.