Alan Soh

I am my own columnist, sharing my own thoughts and experiences!

Social Entrepreneurship in Singapore

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Do you know what is social entrepreneurship? Do you know what is a social enterprise?

Do you know the concept and the rationale behind the terms mentioned?

Many Singaporeans today have little knowledge about social entrepreneurship.  In fact according to a survey done between February and March last year by the Social Enterprise Association (SEA) here in Singapore, it tells that the overall awareness of social enterprises among the survey respondents was a low 13%.

The survey also found from face-t0-face interviews that a sizeable chunk of 2,000 respondents nationwide had misconceptions about social enterprises. For example: as much as 45% of the survey respondents had this mistaken idea that social enterprises run businesses to raise funds. No no no.

And 18% of the survey respondents thought that profit-making was an objective of doing such businesses. Arghh. This is very wrong!! There are also other misconceptions such as social enteprises exist mainly to drum up publicity for commercial companies, and to encourage its employees to do community work. Erm…Not true.

As such, SEA has decided to do something about it by doing a campaign with the Ministry of Community Development, Youth & Sports (MCYS) to raise public awareness about businesses which support social causes they believe in.

What is a social enterprise?

It is a legal entity that operates in a market environment to generate revenue – not to collect donations – while also meeting a social or environmental need. It needs to have a declared social mission, for profit or for non-profit. For example: a western food restaurant which hires ex-convicts and delinquent youths to do kitchen work and food preparation.

Thank heavens, there seem to be a good level of awareness among 3/4 of the survey respondents.  7 in 10 respondents said they would be keen to patronise social enterprises if they were told of the causes they support. About 1 in 5 had patronised social enterprises before; and another 55% said they had not done so but willing to do so in the next six months. 🙂

SEA’s campaign is mainly focusing on the aspect of public education because going by the survey findings, quite a number of respondents (about 60%) said they would not buy anything from such businesses because they were unsure of what these were.

Come on, social enterprise is about helping people! I am thinking of starting one too, to help the hearing-impaired community in Singapore.

There is a current number of 68 social enterprises  being listed in SEA’s web directory.

You can check it out at its website ->

LATEST! (5 October)

This is something revolutionary. For independent workers who wish to get office space, working on your stuff without home distractions or prying eyes from the boss, and yet enjoy talking to other industry people at the same time.  I think this is especially good for social entrepreneur wannabees who have some available money to spare! 😉

I am thinking of going for this…hmmm…because I feel that this may be “cheaper” than if one is to go for renting those full posh office suites located at Suntec City office towers.

Check out this website ->



Author: alansoh79

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