Social entrepreneurship refers to individuals, groups or corporation's approach to selling solutions in the form of a product or services that tackle community-based issues these stakeholders aim to solve. Therefore, social entrepreneurship is not only focused on profit like traditional entrepreneurship but they also focus a part of their profit and effort into resolving social issues. In general, social issues that these social enterprises aim to tackle vary depending on their scale and opinion.
Though the term has been coined ever since the start of the 1980s by Bill Drayton, it has only received attention from the community in the recent decade. With the rise in people’s awareness and initiatives such as Vision 2030, more youths are interested in the idea of making a profit while benefiting the world. As such, with varying views and opinions, social enterprises tackle different social issues namely, inequality, gender equality, education or environmental health.
As a fast-developed nation, Singapore has always put long-term sustainability in its core development plan. With that in mind, Singapore has been putting in efforts to raise awareness about social entrepreneurship and encourage the establishment of social enterprises in Singapore. In an effort to make Singapore and the world an even better place, many social enterprises have been tackling community-based issues that are still present or need immediate attention from people. Here are some examples of social enterprise in Singapore that are striving to better the well-being of others:
With the vision of keeping nature and outdoor spaces safe, Better Trails, a Singaporean-based company is promoting the ethical use of outdoor spaces through environmental education and outdoor recreation. They believe that without the intention to, sometimes we cause damage to the outdoor spaces that we love due to our actions. With sustainable use of outdoor spaces at their core beliefs, Better Trails provides people with training regarding outdoor ethics as well as Leave No Trace training for people in the community. In order to achieve a future where people are more responsible with their actions around outdoor spaces, Better Trails is devoted to educating people about the responsible and sustainable use of nature, especially in a country with such a small landmass like Singapore.
Do you know that Singapore imports over 90% of the food consumed due to limited land available for agriculture? With healthy living getting more costly and ⅕ of Singapore’s imported food thrown away, Uglyfood was founded in 2016 with the vision of reducing food waste. Believing in beauty being more than skin deep, Uglyfood provides people with food that is ugly yet delicious and healthy for the people. By sourcing food from suppliers, this company provides people with a solution to healthy living with a price up to 40% cheaper compared to local supermarkets. This company's efforts to promote ugly produce does not only reduce the resources needed to incinerate food thrown away, but it also provides the less privileged communities access to healthier food produce.
According to the Singapore Environment Council’s position paper published in 2018, Singapore uses about 1.76 billion plastic items each year. Among these numbers, there are around 820 million plastic bags from supermarkets, 467 million PET bottles and 473 million plastic disposable items. This number will only burgeon as the population increases if we don’t take action. UnPackt is the first zero-waste speciality grocer and wholesaler in Singapore to offer packaging-free shopping. At its core, Unpackt believes that saving the Earth requires a collective effort, as such, they want to cultivate a community that cares for the environment by reducing waste while grocery shopping.
With the people at its core, Bettr Barista is not just a roastery and barista academy, they provide quality education and skill development to marginalized women and at-risk youth via a six-month long program. Not only does this academy provide their trainees with skills training but they also involve their trainees in emotional training sessions along with physical activities like yoga and hiking. As an enterprise, Bettr Barista focuses on championing socially responsible practices as well as empowering marginalized women and youth through their Holistic Training Programme. Most importantly, Bettr Barista aims to develop sustainable and direct trading practices in their supply chains and nurture a community that is conscious of others.
As a culturally-diverse country with ⅕ of its population being migrant workers, English is the foreign language most used among companies and academia in Singapore. However, not all migrant workers are fluent English speakers, as such, the language barrier prevents these people from blending into the local community. As someone who moved to Singapore from Bangladesh with his family thirteen years ago without a word of English, Sazzad Hossain - the founder of SDI Academy, fully understands the struggle facing the language barrier. With refugees and migrants in mind, SDI Academy aims to provide a quality education that would up-skill these people, helping them to assimilate into society. By collaborating with various corporations, employers and international agencies, this academy has provided training in communication, IT, Financial literacy and Entrepreneurship training to over 8500 students.