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BUILDING A BETTER WORLD THROUGH SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND INNOVATION

By Penny Low (Delegate/Singapore, Seoul Summit 2006)

Social Innovation Park Ltd (SIP) was founded in 2006 with a vision to build a more inclusive, sustainable, and better world through Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation. SIP is an impartial, not-for-profit organisation that aims to Educate, Empower, and Enhance (3Es) social entrepreneurs to bring positive innovations to lives and societies. This year, SIP will celebrate its fourth anniversary and the many achievements that have brought us many steps closer to realising our dream.

One of our programs, the Global Social Innovators Forum (GSIF), brings together a highly trusted community of influential minds from the public, private and people sectors and provide opportunities for them to collaborate and embrace innovations that will define business, government and society, thereby building a more inclusive, sustainable and better world. The theme for GSIF 2009 was Collaborative Innovations: Investing in Team Earth & an Inclusive World . For three days, more than 530 delegates and speakers from about 30 countries took part in building a community of change leaders who are embracing social innovation to do good and do well. We started the forum asking ourselves how to design a better future, one with economic profits, social dividends, political successes and harmony, and environmental sustainability. Throughout the three days, we deliberated on the challenges we face, but more importantly focused on the social innovations that can lead us to our better future.

At the GSIF Gala Dinner, SIP announces the recipients of its SIP Distinguished Fellow and Fellow Awards, which was started in 2008 and honors leaders in Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation worldwide. Among the inaugural Fellows recognized was Veronica Colondam (Fellow/Indonesia, Class of 2007), Founder of Yayasan Cinta Anak Bangsa (YCAB). This year honorees included Asia 21 alumni Melissa Kwee (Delegate/Singapore, Singapore Summit 2007), Chairperson of Halogen Foundation, Singapore, and Calvin Chin (Delegate/USA, KL Summit 2009), Co-Dounder and CEO of Qifang, China.

Another project, called the Pop and Talent Hub (PaTH) Initiative, is Singapore’s first Social Enterprise Development Platform, championing social entrepreneurship via the arts by developing artists from traditionally marginalised groups including the hearing- and visually-impaired, chronically depressed, stay-at-home mothers, youths-at-risk, among others. In 2008, we collaborated with Network for Electronic Transfers Pte Ltd (NETS) to launch six limited edition CashCards featuring artwork by PaTH talents. Through the partnership, 150,000 cards were printed and six less-advantaged but equally-abled artists gained confidence and dignity from seeing their artwork published and in the hands of thousands of Singaporeans.

As we enter our fourth year of driving the social entrepreneurship movement in the region, we’ve been fortunate to receive the partnership and support of many global movers and shakers- leaders and innovators including his Excellency President S R Nathan of Singapore; Peng Tsin Ong, technopreneur and founder of Match.com; and Global Investor Jim Rogers. Many SIP supporters have also given their time to educate on social entrepreneurship and innovation through our “Giant in Conversation” and “Chatterbox” speaking series. Our “Giants” have included Rory Stear, founder of Freeplay Enterprise and Fondations; Mel Young, social entrepreneur and founder of the Homeless World Cup; Young Global Leader Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner, co-founder of Opera Software; and Stephan Chambers, Chairman of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship and Director of the MBA and EMBA degress at Oxford Saïd Business School. Stephan Chambers joined us in Singapore last year for the launch of a Skoll-Oxford-SIP partnership through which SIP and the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship will host an annual exchange of lectures, forums, and other events to grow the social entrepreneurship movement. SIP is also spreading its seeds overseas, having formed SIP Chapters in the USA (Yale University), China (Fudan University), Japan, Indonesia, and Kashmir as well as maintained our local student chapters at the Singapore Institute of Management and Nanyang Polytechnic. Projects range from student forums at our university chapters to SIP Water Clubs, formed in Kashmir to teach water conservation and solutions to water problems faced by locals. SIP looks forward to continuing to grow our organisation in 2010 and educating, empowering, and enhancing social entrepreneurs to bring positive innovations to lives and societies worldwide.

To find out more about SIP and its initiatives, please visit www.socialinnovationpark.org or email info@socialinnovationpark.org.

Penny, President and Founder of Social Innovation Park Ltd, is one of the 34 founding members of the New Asian Leaders by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum. She has also been honored as one of the 237 (out of 8,000 worldwide) founding members of the prestigious The Forum of Global Young Leaders (YGL). She was the youngest elected female Member of Parliament in Singapore, representing the Pasir Ris-Punggol Group Representation Constituency in 2001.

Source:Social Innovation Club (SIP China Chapter)

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