#Asia 6 social enterprises that want to change the world


They graduate from Singtel’s five-month long Enabling Change incubator run by UNFRAMED, a launchpad for social-impact startups


Six social impact startups pitched today to investors as they graduate from a social impact tech incubator programme run by UNFRAMED and prepare to launch their solutions in the market.

The startups underwent five months of training and mentorship and were each given S$10,000 (US$7000) of seed funding by programme partner Singtel to help them “accelerate their impact by leveraging technology to tackle social challenges faced by the disabled community”.

“The solution that my team came up with allows PwD (Persons with Disabilities) 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,” said Aaron Soon, the Founder of BevEat, a startup that recently trialled an app allowing students with intellectual and communication disabilities to process customer orders at a café by colour coding them.

Explaining the raison d’être for the incubator, Larry Tchiou, serial social entrepreneur and Founder of UNFRAMED, said, “Despite the recent explosion of social enterprises, the general lack of community focus and adapted support for very early-stage initiative 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.”

Also Read: DBS Foundation awards grants to 11 social enterprises

Meet the six startups

1. AbleThrive

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.

2. Be-Lift

Be-Lift is an events portal that seeks to assist PwD regain control of 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 profiles to demonstrate their abilities.

Be-Lift’s point of intervention begins from the in-patient 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).

3. BevEat

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 ordering and 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 per cent of its profits back to charity.

4. Colhero

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.

5. PsychKick

PsychKick is a mobile platform that is transforming psychotherapy by integrating new technology with traditional approaches – the sidekick for individuals battling mental conditions.

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 and faster.

6. (these)abilities

(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. They apply the principles of universal design – meaning they can be used by everyone, not just PwD.

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

Also Read: Software with a heart: Start Now is first SG social entrepreneur exit

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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