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Social Entrepreneurship in Singapore: Going Down the Toilet?

Jack Sim

Social entrepreneur and chairman of the non-profit World Toilet Organisation, Mr. Jack Sim, is reportedly feeling so unappreciated by the lack of government support for his efforts that he is thinking of relocating to Australia.

Also the president of the Restroom Association of Singapore, the social activist recently shared with The Straits Times that his proposal to the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources to host the first global forum on sanitation in Singapore was turned down. Mr. Sim is considering moving Down Under – oh, the irony! – with his family instead.

“Bureaucrats are not bad people, but they don’t think out of the box… They told me there is a risk in supporting new things,” he had said.

Rebuttal from the Ministry came swiftly in a forum reply to the same paper the next day, however, putting his situation in an even bleaker position.  It is sad that in these days when entrepreneurship of any kind in Singapore is already lacklustre, the activist – recognised by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship – faces difficulty in pushing his project off the ground.  All these while the Singapore Tourism Board spends precious resources trying to convince offshore non-profit organisations to hold their MICE activities here!

So what does this mean for social entrepreneurship in Singapore?  It will be interesting to see how transport and logistics giant DHL‘s call for social entrepreneurs in its Young Entrepreneurs for Sustainability (YES) Awards will fare here in Singapore.

I highly doubt we’ll see many entries from Singapore. But maybe there’d be an additional one from Down Under.

Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.

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