Collaborative space among social enterprises, non-profit outfits, businesses, and governments can be extremely impactful, they should be given support to grow, and one way to do that is having a shared platform for them to tap resources, and maximising ‘collaborative space’, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam at the Singapore Social Enterprise Conference (SSEC) on Tuesday (25 Oct)
DPM Tharman gave an example of Edible Garden City, which builds gardens in under-utilised spaces on growing food produce, and employs people with autism.
He noted that Edible Garden City works with the Autism Research Centre, and some government agencies such as the Singapore Land Authority.
“They decided that part of their objective is to support persons with autism through urban farming training programmes … not just to help persons with autism have a job, but something more intrinsic, in the ways in which persons with autism can contribute and benefit from it themselves,” he said.
He explained that social enterprises are filling needs in other countries ‘where things are not working well’, and collaborating more closely with governments to do so.
Mr Tharman reiterated that shared platforms should be provided to help social enterprises grow and achieve their social objectives.
It is a platform that offers resources such as sustainable materials, 3D printers, and other machines to help inventors, students and social entrepreneurs create products.
The examples of Social enterprises collaborating with those in the private sector are:
- The Sustainable Living Lab (SL2), which aims to build a Sustainable Future through community building, technology experimentation and social innovation, and
- Make the Change, which enables executives from a multinational company to mentor students from low-income families.
The SL2 will hold an event on 28 Oct, to explore how volunteer managers might plan opportunities for the volunteers to grow within the organisation, and how to support them as their aspirations lead them to start projects of their own.
On a separate occasion yesterday the Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise, which organised yesterday’s conference, released a set of results from a public perception survey of 1,888 respondents.
This survey revealed that more people were buying products or services from social enterprises, 35 percent this year compared with 22 percent in 2010, when the first survey was done.
It also found that more people were aware of social enterprises, from 13 percent in 2010 to 65 percent this year.