The Digital Business Challenge (DBC) 2017 held last weekend was organized by the Republic Polytechnic (RP) Diploma in Social Enterprise at Waterway Point. The Singapore National Co-operative Federation (SNCF) was one of the main sponsors for the event that was participated by about 150 students from 23 Secondary Schools.
The previous format – National Pushcart Challenge, which was organised for 10 years – was meant to provide a continuous platform for secondary school students to demonstrate their entrepreneurial skills against one another. This year’s DBC, had evolved to embrace digital marketing elements amidst the student inculcating a social entrepreneurship mindset, and included supporting partners like, DBS paylah, EzBuy and Carousell, who value added with their expertise in online procurement and their digital marketing platforms. The event attracted many customers as there were many unique and handmade products and the students displayed their passion to promote the products to their customers.
An interesting aspect was that students worked with VWOs and social enterprises to tell a story with the products they were selling. Schools were seen collaborating with organisations, like the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped (SAVH), Members Own Social Enterprise and Services (MOSES), St Andrews Senior Care Centre, Dignity Kitchen etc. The competition provided a platform for students to learn to become a social enterprise and to also get the chance to learn the co-operative values to do well (have a sustainable business) and do good (contribute back to the community). It allows the students to understand the value of giving back to the society through hard work and not just to compete against one another.
A student from the overall Champion team from Junyuan Secondary School, shared about a lady who was being bullied at her previous workplace due to her physical disabilities. She was then hired by Dignity Kitchen (won the President’s Social Enterprise Award 2015), that employs persons with disabilities and uncovers their talents and abilities. The students were able to learn these stories as they had gone to the partner’s premise to bake and produce the items with the persons with disabilities.
One of the judges shared that, “It was interesting that the teams had used marketing skills to sell items produced by their partnering social enterprise, or create brand new innovative products to up their product differentiation. It was also heartening to see that teams were moving away from strategies to have ‘one-off purchases out of pity’ to provide customers with more practical and useful choices. Beyond that, the process instills (co-operative) character values and builds confidence in the students.”
Amongst the participants were 5 of SNCF’s Coop Clubs & Co-operatives (Anglican High Secondary School, Broadrick Secondary School, Holy Innocents High School, Regent Secondary School, and Northlight Secondary School). The Coop Clubs were formed by SNCF in January 2016 to promote and cultivate co-operative values and social enterprise skills in students. Consequentially, preparing the students for the competition.
We would like to convey our heartiest congratulations to the following coop clubs & Co-operative for coming in:
2nd Position for the Overall Competition – Northlight School Multi-purpose Co-operative Ltd
3rd Position for the Overall Competition – Anglican High Secondary School Coop Club
3rd Position for Online Platform Category – Holy Innocents High School Coop Club