News Releases

Six social impact startups take flight after concluding Enabling Change programme

Startups create disruptive innovation to help disabled community

SINGAPORE, 1 December 2015 – After five months of incubation and intensive training, six social impact startups are now ready to launch their solutions in the market. Today, more than 20 investors will come together to hear these startups pitch for funding. 

One of the six startups is BevEat. Its Founder, Mr Aaron Soon, developed a fully integrated solution for F&B outlets, allowing persons with disabilities (PwD) to use mobile technology to help them work better. During a trial with Mountbatten Vocational School’s café, students who had intellectual and communication disabilities were able to process customers’ orders by using an app installed on tablets. The app colour coded each customer’s order, simplifying the process for the PwD worker when serving the dishes. 

Mr Soon said, “The solution that my team came up with allows PwD waiting staff to track customer orders more easily and in the process, improve customer service. Through our technology, we are opening the doors for PwD to be gainfully employed in the F&B sector.” 

In June this year, BevEat and five other startups were selected for an incubation programme to help them accelerate their impact by leveraging technology to tackle social challenges faced by the disabled community. Throughout the five months, they were provided seed funding of $10,000 each by Singtel, and given unique access to partner organisations, non-profit and industry experts, tech startups and social entrepreneur mentors.

Mr Soon added, “We are extremely grateful to the coaches and mentors who have given us so much of their time to help our business succeed. The workshops conducted by UNFRAMED were also very helpful in sharpening our business acumen and giving our business the competitive edge.” 

UNFRAMED, a local social impact startup incubator, has been running the programme with Singtel as the main partner. Serial social entrepreneur and Founder, Mr Larry Tchiou, said, “Despite the recent explosion of social enterprises, the general lack of community focus and adapted support for very early stage initiatives prevent many promising social innovations from achieving a real positive impact. Through our partnership with Singtel, we were able to help these startups shape their solutions to benefit PwD, by providing them with initial funding, coaching and mentorship to help increase their success rate.”     

“We believe that the next generation of successful businesses will be founded for a purpose – one which balances social impact with profits”, he added. 

Singtel Vice President of Group Corporate Social Responsibility and Talent Coach, Mr Andrew Buay, said, “At Singtel, we believe that technology has the potential to positively change the lives and employability of people with disabilities. Therefore, we are building the ecosystem, and supporting young change makers in their efforts to create impact for the disabled community through technology and innovation.” 

“I’m glad to know that the programme has benefitted these startups, and we were able to be involved, not just monetarily, but by sharing our expertise with them as well. We are confident that their solutions will benefit the disabled community in Singapore”, he added. 

As main partner to the programme, Singtel provided seed funding of S$10,000 each to six startups, funded IT capability and consultancy for the teams, and offered staff as coach and mentors. A mock pitching session was also conducted by Singtel Innov8 – the Singtel Group’s corporate venture fund – to offer them tips and guidance as a lead up to the pitching session to investors today. 

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About Enabling Change

Enabling Change is Singapore’s first social impact tech incubator programme focusing on persons with disabilities. It supports social impact startups and helps them build viable business models, accelerate their growth, and scale their social impact. 

Enabling Change is a five-month programme comprising community engagement and an incubation programme. During community engagement, the teams engaged with the community to identify pressing challenges faced by PwD and their support networks, and develop solutions to address these issues. This was followed by an incubation programme where the teams got unique access to partner organisations, non-profit and industry experts, tech startups and social entrepreneur mentors. At the end of the incubation programme, these startups will be market ready. 

Enabling Change is powered by Singtel, and run by local social incubator UNFRAMED.

 

About UNFRAMED

UNFRAMED (www.unframed.so) is a social-impact startup incubator set-up by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. 

A launchpad for early stage startups engaging the community & leveraging technology, we believe in the power of committed individuals to address the most pressing social challenges. We support promising changemakers with the help of a cross-sector ecosystem of amazing partners, enabling them to realise their full potential.

By nurturing the next generation of social-impact entrepreneurs, UNFRAMED builds great startups with clear social impact!

We are launching our next generation of social-impact entrepreneurs aimed at addressing challenges of the vulnerable elderly in Singapore. Find out more at www.unframed.so/unaging.

 

About Singtel’s Corporate Social Responsibility

The Singtel Group aims to create sustainable and long-term growth for our business, while leading and shaping positive changes for our marketplace and customers, the communities we operate in, our people and the environment. 

Singtel’s community focus is on the well-being of people, enabling their inclusion into society and helping them realise their potential through our core competence in digital and infocomm technologies. 

Singtel believes that we can make a difference to disadvantaged communities, especially the vulnerable children and youth, through corporate and workplace giving, staff volunteering and leveraging our skills and ICT innovations. 

Singtel is a founding member of the Singapore Business Network on DisAbility – advancing equitable employment opportunities for people with disability through awareness, shared expertise, network and resources. 

Read more about Singtel’s corporate social responsibility and programmes at http://info.singtel.com/about-us/sustainability.

 

APPENDIX 1

Enabling Change Startups

AbleThrive (www.ablethrive.com)

AbleThrive is a one-stop platform curating articles, videos, products and services for living well with a disability from people, organisations, hospitals and companies around the world.

It structures and simplifies the pathway to access these resources online, replicating the proven benefits of mentoring and local support. It customises resource delivery with user-centric design, responsive to the needs and interests of each user. This accelerates knowledge transfer while maximising the reach and impact of existing resources.

No more relying on luck, hours of searching or misinformed assumptions; only strategic, efficient and predictable empowerment to live well with a disability.

 

Be-Lift (www.be-lift.com)

Be-Lift is an event portal that seeks to assist PwD regain control and redefine their lives through their own choice of programmes and activities for their rehabilitation.

Through Be-Lift’s integrated one-stop activity portal, PwD can explore adapted activities meaningful to them (e.g. sports, music, arts); find buddies to try out new activities with; and generate their own profile to demonstrate their abilities.

Be-Lift’s point of intervention begins from the inpatient experience through to community support post-discharge. Partners range from rehabilitation centres such as TTSH Rehab Centre to community organisations such as Table Tennis Association for the Disabled (Singapore).

 

BevEat (www.beveat.com)

BevEat is a fully integrated eWallet and mobile point of sales (POS) solution that helps the F&B and retail sectors to increase productivity while enabling employment for PwD with physical, communication and intellectual disabilities such as deafness and Down's syndrome.

Supported by key partnerships with special education schools such as Mountbatten Vocational School, BevEat’s POS system has proven to work well with PwD. BevEat also facilitates self-service of ordering & payment, addressing labour shortages.

With an ongoing pilot at a major tertiary institution, BevEat aims to become the payment system of choice – by enabling employment of PwD and ploughing 22% of its profits back to charity.

 

Colhero (www.colhero.com)

Colhero is an online fashion aggregator that aims to bridge the gap between welfare and commercial products in terms of product awareness - just one website to remember to shop all of your favourite sites with the option to contribute back to the society.

Colhero brings together all fashion products from e-commerce sites across the internet, including the welfare products into one single platform. In addition, it collates all updates and discounts from all these sites into one place, curated based on user preferences.

Customised and personalised to suit your fashion shopping styles, Colhero makes your online shopping even more convenient and interactive.

 

PsychKick (www.psychkick.co)

PsychKick is a mobile platform that is transforming psychotherapy by integrating new technology to traditional approaches – the sidekick for individuals battling mental conditions, because “Every Hero Needs a SideKick”.

A digital tool to assist in treatment, PsychKick aims to strengthen engagement and foster relationships between psychotherapists and their clients in between sessions.

Structured from the most practiced therapy approach, clients are able to experience effective Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and receive treatment better, faster.

 

(these)abilities (www.theseabilities.com)

(these)abilities aims to “Disable Disabilities” by designing and building products that level the playing field for Persons with Disabilities (PwD) at work, at home and during play.

Its products are designed together with PwD using high and low tech, design thinking and community engagement. We apply the principles of universal design - meaning they can be used by everyone, not just PwD.

It focuses on accessibility to technology in terms of cost and attainability (availability + existence); inclusion and empowerment of PwD in effective problem solving; and advocacy to help bridge the disconnect between disability and the public.