Special boot camp aims to jump-start social enterprises

Special boot camp aims to jump-start social enterprises

More than 30 social entrepreneurs involved in projects to benefit society started a three-day boot camp on Friday, designed to help them set up or improve their operations.

DBS Bank and The Hub Singapore, a community for people involved in social enterprises, have joined hands to help those looking to promote worthy causes.

Their boot camp uses methods developed by business school Insead, which train people in how to identify and tackle a problem before they pilot and launch a business model.

The participants, who paid fees of up to $350 to cover costs, will network with like-minded individuals and learn about designing novel solutions to address social problems.

The National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) will also share with participants how they can integrate volunteering into their project ideas.

At the end of the boot camp, participants must demonstrate what they have learnt and pitch their projects to a judging panel.

NVPC will sponsor $5,000 worth of "development opportunities" - which include providing mentors and training - for the winning team.

Participants might also receive a grant of up to $50,000 through NVPC's Jump Start Fund, which aims to help fledgling ideas get off the ground.

Participant Jason Yip registered his company Sloan CSR last month. He hopes to tap the resources of small and medium-sized enterprises to help disadvantaged youngsters and the elderly.

The 26-year-old, who joined the boot camp on Friday  said: "I hope to learn how to make my social venture relevant and how to make it work."

The next camp is expected to be held in November.

Other projects of the Hub/DBS partnership have not been firmed up yet, but they plan to do more to "connect, support and celebrate" social intrapreneurs - people working for large organisations who find ways for them to help society while still making money.

Ms Grace Sai, a co-founder of The Hub, said: "Social intrapreneurs can tap their companies' deep pockets and distribution networks, which smaller social enterprises might not have access to."

goyshiyi@sph.com.sg


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