Social innovation in Singapore – Asia Series

Written by: Alberto Cremonesi, Board of Directors, Impact Hub Association, Founder, Impact Hub Phnom Penh.

Say Singapore and the first things that come to mind are banking, technology and… well, the popular and delicious chicken rice dish.  What might not be obvious is that Singapore is also home to one of the fastest growing social enterprise sectors in Asia. 

While the majority of social enterprises are at an early stage (47% according to recent data from rAisE), tackling social issues from education and employment to ageing population and waste reduction – their number has been rapidly increasing over the past few years. One of the reasons is the favorable context – while the social enterprise sector is not officially regulated, the country witnesses a wealth of initiatives from various stakeholders in the ecosystem: the foundation of a dedicated research Centre for Social Entrepreneurship & Philanthropy, the launch of President’s Challenge Social Enterprise Award (PCSEA), the creation of an Impact Investment Exchange (IIX), the availability of funding through various initiatives like the DBS Social Venture Challenge and the growing number of capacity builders like incubators and accelerators – have all contributed to the vibrant social enterprise sector Singapore hosts today.

While the sector keeps growing so is the number and depth of collaborations between academic institutions, practitioners, intermediaries and funding agencies to create cutting-edge knowledge on the topic. It is important that this positive momentum continues as it can generate both traction and, even more importantly, shared learning not only for Singapore but for the rest of the South East Asia region. 

About the author:

Alberto is a member of the Board of Directors of Impact Hub Global Network and the founder of Impact Hub Phnom Penh. His focus is on the field of social entrepreneurship and social innovation, non-for-profit management and corporate non-market strategies. He is particularly interested in understanding the processes through which entrepreneurs construct new models and markets, and the growth and scaling up processes of new ventures in order to maximize economic and social impact. Alberto has been living and working in Asia for over 15 years. 

Alberto holds an executive MBA from IE Business School. In life, he continues his quest to find the perfect espresso coffee outside of Italy.


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