10 regional social impact start-ups hoping to make a difference in healthcare, education and social services were named the winners of Singtel Group Future Makers 2018. The annual programme supports promising social impact enterprises that make innovative use of technology to create a positive difference in their communities and in the region.
For the first time, start-ups supported by the Group’s regional associates, AIS in Thailand and Telkomsel in Indonesia, were among the teams that participated in the regional programme which included social entrepreneurs backed by Singtel in Singapore, its wholly-owned subsidiary Optus in Australia, and regional associate Globe in the Philippines.
Now in its third year, the Future Makers programme attracted over 3,000 applicants from five countries. 48 selected start-ups secured more than S$1 million in funding and support, after participating in rigorous capacity building and mentorship workshops over a period of four months by the Group's team of experts and external partners from the social and private sectors who volunteered their time and skills to advise them on their technology solutions and business models. Besides gaining valuable working knowledge and coaching, the start-ups had the opportunity to network with them. 10 winning teams from the local programmes – – then went on to the regional finals where they successfully pitched to a panel of global impact investors and scored an additional S$110,000 in funding from the Singtel Group.
Mr Andrew Buay, Vice President of Group Sustainability at Singtel, said, “We believe technology has the power to enrich lives and empower everyone. The Future Makers programme reflects this conviction and leverages the best of our regional partners to nurture innovators to create greater social impact. We are glad to see the programme extending its reach further each year and the wide range of issues start-ups are tackling with the help of technology. The judging panel was very pleased with the quality of ideas from the 10 teams, who have the potential to go to the next level and scale regionally.”
Telkomsel encourages Indonesian youths to create social impact with technology through its social innovation programme, The NextDev. Telkomsel CEO Mr Ririek Adriansyah said, “We believe that supporting useful and life-changing products will prove invaluable to communities. Telkomsel’s The NextDev Talent Scouting and The NextDev Academy encourage and empower such initiatives and breakthroughs to bring about positive social impact in Indonesia.”
As part of the regional finals hosted by Singtel and Optus in Sydney, Australia, Future Makers from all cohorts attended the Impact Investment Summit Asia Pacific 2018 and further capacity building at Optus. Start-ups gained insight from impact investors, corporations, foundations, government representatives and the social sector, and explored with them potential opportunities to scale their solutions regionally.
Mr Lincoln Dacy, co-founder of Singapore-based XCLR8, an application that enables physiotherapists to remotely monitor, track and instruct patients via wearable motion sensors, said, "Singtel Future Makers provided us with extensive business training in areas such as strategy, marketing, pitching and legal practice and also created great networking opportunities with investors as well as potential customers. This resourceful programme greatly shaped both our product R&D and how we took our product to market. We were also excited to speak with relevant partners in Australia at the regional finals as we look to expand into the country."
LearnerLibrary.com, one of the winners at last year’s Singtel Group Future Makers, has tapped on the Group’s reach to extend its subscription textbook service beyond Australia into the Philippines. Its co-founder Michael D'Rosario said, "Our new partnership with Globe, the leading mobile company in the Philippines, allows us to reach 100,000 students and teachers through its Global Filipino Schools Programme. They will gain free access to our digital literacy platform, LearnerLibrary.com, and our interactive children’s learning programme, SmartyFox. We are beyond grateful to the Optus Future Makers programme for making this social impact opportunity possible.”