The journey to Creathon 2021 has begun! Do you have an idea of what social issue you could be addressing? If not, here are some suggestions. Below are five pressing issues that Singapore currently faces, especially in the midst of the global pandemic.

 

1. Assisting Small Businesses

small businesses

Credit: The Culture Trip

What

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) form the backbone of our economy. SMEs make up 99% of all enterprises and an employment rate of 65% of all workers in Singapore.

Why

COVID-19 has resulted in a major lack of demand for many small businesses. While demand from customers have recovered since the end of the Circuit Breaker, COVID has exposed the threats that small businesses in Singapore face from technological advancements.

How can we help?

Given the impact COVID-19 has had on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in terms of increased expenses and a loss of income, what can be done to help these small businesses keep up with the times, to ensure sustainability in a world that is increasingly dominated by technology?

 

2. Assisting Migrant Workers

migrant workers problem statement

Credit: Asia Nikkei

What 

Singapore’s development from a third world fishing village to a first world metropolitan can be attributed to many factors, but one of which is definitely our large pool of unsung heroes, the migrant workers. According to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), roughly 555,100 foreign domestic workers currently reside in Singapore on work passes.

Why 

As of Aug 14, there were a total of 55,580 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Singapore. Of which, 52,425 were foreign workers. This startling fact can be attributed to the close proximity in which foreign workers reside in their dormitories. A Straits Times report also noted that 1 in 6 foreign workers living in dormitories contracted Covid-19.

How can we help?

More support can definitely be given to these foreign workers. While land scarcity is definitely an issue here in Singapore, preventing the dormitories from expanding much and therefore not completely alleviating this issue, Covid-19 has exposed the poor condition that the workers are living in. What else can we do to make these unsung heroes feel more comfortable in the home that they helped build?

 

3. Mental Health

mental health problem statement

Credit: Webmd

What

Amongst the many measures taken by the Singapore government to curb the spread of Covid-19, none were more drastic than the Circuit Breaker. With many Singaporeans confined to their own 4 walls, limited to the occasional grocery runs, a mental health crisis might be impending.

Why 

As Covid-19 continues and ceases to stop, people are worried about their health, relationships and jobs. These stresses result in major financial and psychological burden placed on their shoulders. With the pandemic still very much relevant in many major countries, one can only wonder about the effects and the extent of damage it can cause on the mental health of our population.

How can we help?

Despite having a negative impact on people financially, COVID-19 may also be causing a rise in potential mental health issues in Singapore. Given the expected rise in stress levels in the nation, what can be done to ensure that there are more avenues for people to approach so as to relieve their stress and talk about their problems?

 

4. Environmental Sustainability

environment sustainability problem statement

Credit: Straits Times

What

For many years, the crisis that was looming over us seemed to be environmental, with many warnings about the harmful effects that carbon production could cause. However, once the Covid-19 pandemic hit, environmental protection almost seemed to have taken a back seat.

Why 

1,334 tonnes of additional plastic waste have been generated as a result of Covid-19. This can be attributed to the rise in the takeaway culture now that restrictions have been imposed in restaurants and hawker centres. This shows a clear lack of regard towards the environmental sustainability mindset that we have tried so hard to cultivate in previous years.

How can we help?

Experts now warn that post-Covid carbon output can exceed that of pre-Covid times. Living in an age of climate crisis already, what efforts can be set up to encourage the public and ensure the responsible use of plastic from now on?

 

5. Increasing Employment

increasing employment problem statement

Credit: Enabling Village

Who

Apart from the health effects that Covid-19 has brought about, the economic impact might be as, if not more drastic. The pandemic has resulted in many businesses suffering a lack of demand, and as a result, the need to cut back costs has led to large-scale unemployment throughout.

What 

The unemployment rate among Singapore citizens rose from 3.3 to 3.5 per cent, and among residents – or Singapore citizens and permanent residents – from 3.2 per cent to 3.3 per cent. The ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons tumbled to the lowest in a decade, from 0.84 in December 2019 to 0.71 in March this year. This means there were only seven openings for every 10 unemployed people in Singapore.

How can we help?

Employment rates have taken a massive hit worldwide from the COVID-19 situation. In Singapore, the situation has resulted in dwindling businesses and rising unemployment rates, due to cutting cost measures. Despite the many government initiatives to address employment issues, what else can be done to supplement existing policies to help the population; especially those who are less-informed and less-prepared to upskill and become more employable?

Are there any other particular social issues that you feel strongly about? Do you have an idea for a Co-op business that could help the people in your community? Your entrepreneurship journey could begin with Creathon 2021!


This article was written by Tok Yin Jie, who is a second-year Accountancy and Business Undergraduate from Nanyang Technological University currently interning in SNCF, Campus and Youth team. He is passionate about travelling and learning about new cultures. He hopes to be able to make a change in society in the future.

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