YSI SEA Making actions count
YSI SEA, Young Sustainable Impact Southeast Asia, was founded in just under 12 months ago by Sai Surya and Irsyad Rathman. They are both undergraduate students of NUS, National University of Singapore. They have rallied together a formidable team of close to 20 university students, majority of them under 25 years’ of age. Coming from a diversity of backgrounds and academic interests, they are bonded by a common overarching mission to empower youths in Southeast Asia to solve sustainability challenges with a measurable impact. Young Sustainable Impact was started in Oslo, Norway by a group of youths passionate about bringing young people around the world together to tackle sustainability problems.
Juggling with demanding studies and college lives, YSI SEA set ambitious goals to organise a Singapore Sustainable Conference featuring participants from Southeast Countries and Singapore Sustainable Showcase on 29 July 2018. These two events are in fact the culmination of an innovation program in which 24 participants are mentored and trained to build strong and effective start-ups that can create solutions to address to one or more United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/ .
Youths and Local issues lead the way
Tapping into the inquisitive nature of youths, YSI SEA are fully aware that our youths in the region are full of ideas, passion and local insights in tackling local issues. The objective of the innovation program is to provide training complementary to such natural abilities and amplify their efforts effectively. The innovation program provides structural training on framework of organization, effective community outreach to build awareness and garner support and guidance in building sustainable solutions. The ultimate goal of this innovation program is to train youths on how to identify relevant local issues that are affecting the long term well-being of the community and build sustainable business, with measurable impact, that can tackle these issues profitably.
More than 800 applications were received from youths around Southeast Asia countries for this innovation program. A vigorous multi-round selection process took place in order to select the final 24 participants. Leveraging on the reach and versatility of the internet, these 24 participants took part on a 2-month online innovation program and made great strides in identifying and prioritising local problems. Geographical barrier is so 2015s!
In July 2018, these 24 participants are flown to Singapore to immerse in the final 10-day innovation program. This is the first time all the participants and team mates come to meet face-to-face with each other after a 2-month long online collaboration and make the final preparations for the Singapore Sustainable Conference.
Business of the future
A successful and lasting business create jobs and give people livelihood. If built on the outset with a clear social conscience, such a business would be the best enterprise vehicle to promote both internally and externally of eradicating social issues in the long run. At the Singapore Sustainable Conference, these participants will pitch to genuine investors, impact investors, angel investors and directors of companies for seed funding to kick-start their ventures. It has been made clear to the participants that this is not a competition and hence there is no prize award at the end of the innovation program. The responsibility rests entirely on the participants to put together a well thought-out and viable business plan that can attract investors to put forth their investment.
What exactly is YSI SEA? Who are they? What do they want to achieve that nobody seems to have managed to do? We sat down with Sai and Irysad to find out more about their vision for YSI SEA and the ups and downs of their relatively short but fast-expanding entrepreneurial journey.