Creathon 2021 was organised by Singapore National C-operative Federation (SNCF) on 16 and 17 January 2021 this year. Due to the pandemic, SNCF shifted the Creathon 2021 from the physical site to the virtual space. Being the second run of the co-operative business challenge, it has attracted up to 520 youths to participate in Creathon 2021. SNCF is heartened to see that Creathon 2021 has significantly atembertracted the youth as a business competition as it aims to raise awareness of the concept of co-operatives to the youths in Singapore.
SNCF has launched a new category (Institute of Higher Learning (IHL)) to attract the interested youths ranging from Junior College, Polytechnics and Institute of Technical Education to be part of this business challenge.
SNCF also introduced the Preliminary Round, Semi-Final Round and Final Round over the course of 3 months to aid in the business challenge pitching process. Having youths aged 13 to 35 in three categories in teams of five to identify existing social issues in Singapore and develop a solution. Based on the co-operative model, SNCF aims to develop team-building skills, business development and innovative thinking among the youths as they showed concern to the community.
To kick start of the business ideation process virtually to further build the participants’ knowledge of co-operatives and businesses, SNCF hosted a total of five knowledge sharing sessions by having the co-operatives business owners (co-operators), social entrepreneurs and Creathon 2020’s winners to share their business ideas, challenged faced and how they overcome them.
We are glad to have our SNCF Scholars 2020 to be emcees for the Speakers session:
Session 1 – Creathon 2021 Briefing + Sharing of Pitchspot.co
Mr Sim Seng Huat representation SNCF to share about the co-operative movement in Singapore.
SNCF partnered with Pitchspot.co to allow participants to make use of the digital platform to develop their business plan with existing business canvas to enhance their business plans. For those who do not know where and how to craft their business plan, Pitchspot.co will be one of the choices to kick start on your entrepreneurship journey to be discovered by potential investors!
Mr Goh See Ting from Pitchspot.co sharing on the usage of Pitchspot.co to the participants.
Session 2 – Mr Jabez Koh, Founder & Managing Director, Infinite Transports Pte Ltd
Jabez is also a Titan from Industrial and Services Co-operative Society Limited (ISCOS). ISCOS is a co-operative that actively engages the community to help ex-offenders gain a foothold in society. ISCOS Titans is a special programme under ISCOS Co-op dedicated to members who have successfully reintegrated and would like to give back to society through multiple avenues of which Mr Jabez was a part of. Today, Mr Jabez runs his own transport and logistics company, Infinite Transports, fulfilling his lifelong dream of becoming a businessman, where most of his employees are former offenders, his way of giving back and helping others find their footing in life. Jabez took the time to share with the participants about his entrepreneurship journey of starting a business venture. “The only way is up!” was the advice he shared with the participants when he faced tremendous stress when his business partners decided to break the partnership and left him to survive. Look, how far has he come!
Session 3 – Mr Christian Eber, Secretary, Agape Energy Efficiency Co-operative Limited
Christian as one of the founding members of Agape Energy Efficiency Co-operative, or AEEC for short. AEEC is a co-operative which aims to educate people to be knowledgeable users and provides services related to high energy consumption devices. In particular, the co-op targets youths at risk by providing technical training and thereby employment opportunities for them so that they can support their families. He shared with the participants on how he made the decision to be a part of a nationwide effort to achieve energy efficiency and how to instil a mindset shift from ground-up initiatives. He is thankful for the guidance that SNCF has given to him as he starts up the co-operative.
Session 4 – Mr Anders Tan, Co-founder, Inclus
Anders is one of the co-founders of Inclus— a social enterprise which focuses on employment for people with disabilities. He shared in a previous interview that he was motivated to set up Inclus after a close relative was dismissed from his job. Mr Tan had also co-founded businesses such as tutoring app EduSnap and software developer Bit Studio. Through his sharing, he had inspired the participants to come up with business models which include helping the disabled community in Singapore.
Session 5 – Creathon 2020 Winners Sharing
The representatives of Mpowering the Nextgen, 2nd Runner up from Open Category of Creathon 2020, Ai Ling and Yoong Kheong shared their co-operative business model of offering student-focused academic support to empower the students who might not have the opportunity for tuition.
Cher!, 1st runner up from Open Category of Creathon 2020 shared of their co-operative idea which provides an online platform for skills and knowledge sharing of both academic and non-academic skills. Encouraging the participants to utilise the internet meaningfully while earning from it as they plan their business idea.
NCom also previously known as Enigma is the Winner of School Category of Creathon 2020. The ladies shared with the participants on their co-operative idea of providing reasonable options to disadvantaged primary school students, giving them more opportunities so as to reduce the gap of the educational inequality.
Taking into the feedback from Creathon 2020, Creathon 2021 also introduce mentoring sessions for all the interested participants to schedule time-slot with Co-operative leaders, social entrepreneurs, SNCF staff and SNCF scholars to share their knowledge of Co-operatives while advising the participants of their business ideas.
Here is Dino-Mites from Holy Innocents’ High School Coop Club with Ms Esther Wong from Singapore National Co-operative Federation via virtual engagement for their mentoring session:
After the Preliminary Round of submission, the judging to process to Semi-final started. We are glad to have the following teams who joined us in the Semi-final round:
Semi-finalists for School Category:
Semi-finalists from IHL Category:
Semi-finalists from Open Category:
We are glad to involve our SNCF Scholars – Ms Ho Kar Yern and Mr Tok Yin Jie to be our emcees for Creathon 2021 while Ms Denise Ong who did the rolling slides. Not forgetting the involvement of our intern, Mr Adrian How from Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s Diploma in Social Enterprise Management who are part of the planning team of Creathon 2021.
Check out Kar Yern and Yin Jie in their serious mode of being the emcees for Creathon 2021.
Each team were in their respective breakout room (School Category, IHL Category and Open Category) to have their 5 minutes of pitching to respective judges.
School Category’s judges:
IHL Category’s judges:
Open Category’s judges:
As the judges deliberate, the participants were given the time to lend their voice by doing a feedback form to help SNCF to create a better Creathon 2022 experience.
Finally, congratulation to the top 5 teams of each category which have progressed onto the Final Round:
On the second day of Creathon 2021, Mr Ang Hin Kee, SNCF CEO kick-started the Final of Creathon 2021 through his opening speech and it is happening concurrently on Facebook Live too.
Participants are in for a panel discussion through the sharing by the following experienced social entrepreneurs and SNCF’s representative to share about how to engage youth through social entrepreneurship in this new norm.
The participants are also hearted to hear how the first place of School and Open Category 2020 (Enigma and STEP) clinched their position and their possible expansion plan after their win in Creathon 2020.
TY Suen shared about STEP’s winning formula such as fnding the right people to be on the Committee of Management who will be suitable to lead the Co-op (people first, idea second). The alignment of their own enterprises with their Co-op’s social mission if doing things with a social goal by coming together to do more.
NCOM once again shared about their winning process especially regarding the membership structure and model in hope to give the finalist the last push of help before the pitching starts!
At last, this is the time what all participants and supporters of the finalists are waiting for, their turn to pitch! Similarly with the Semi-final, they are given 5 minutes of pitching time with 3 minutes of Questions and Answers by the judges. The School Category’s teams will start first, followed by IHL Category teams and lastly, the Open Category’s teams.
Judges of Creathon 2021’s Final:
The business pitching drew to an end as the last team of the Open Category had their last Questions and Answers. Participants waited anxiously and patiently as the judges select the winners from the 3 categories.
Here come the results of
Winners for School Category:
Coming at 2nd runner up is Team Euphoria from Raffles Girls’ School (Secondary). Team Euphoria shared having a mental wellness app to promote mental wellness among the students (youth) and people of all ages in Singapore. Riding onto the heightening of raising mental health awareness, Team Euphoria was about to articulate their social mission and business model sufficiently. The app would include self-care packages and tips function to assist users who are suffering from mental illnesses to be able to express themselves freely from the volunteers and professional counsellors.
NLS Purple Stars from Northlight School clinched 1st runner up as they have demonstrated the strong understanding of the co-operative membership in the co-operative structure as well as their social mission of solving the problem of paper wastage by turning the materials into upcycling products to be sold on the market.
The practicality of the business model by providing ready-to-eat nutritional meals for the lower income group to upcycle food by reducing the gap of food insecurity and food wastage enabled Fortino from Raffles Girls’ School (Secondary) to win as the 1st place for School Category of Creathon 2021.
Winners of IHL Category:
2nd runner up of IHL Category goes to RPSE whose business idea of having a restaurant to provide flexible employment for single mothers through having cooking local delicacies with mum’s touch certainly brings a tug to our heartstrings.
With the social mission of providing opportunities for seniors to contribute to society through their existing skills, Ember aims to create an inclusive and efficient digital platform to provide the seniors with a renewed sense of purpose as they age gracefully. The self-help and mutual help of the co-operative values are surely being applied to their co-operative idea as the 1st runner up of the IHL Category (Team Ember below).
While the 1st in place of IHL Category, Life Changers aims to be a service co-operative which helps to connect companies to hire ex-offenders and ex-offenders for job opportunities. This one-stop phone app is truly life-changing for both hiring companies and ex-offenders as job seekers where ex-offenders are able to upgrade their skillsets while the hiring companies provide a second chance for the ex-offenders to reintegrate back into the society. The feasibility of the co-operative idea in this market definitely enables the ex-offenders to take responsibility for their lives scored the points of the judges.
Winners of Open Category:
Everyone aims to be a fashionista but no one can beat Commenhers for bringing fashion with a heart to the next level. Coming in at 2nd runner up of Open Category of Creathon 2021, Commenhers aims to make upcycling a lifestyle by reusing waste materials, useless or unwanted products such as used clothes into a new product of higher quality and nicer design. Their upcycled apparels accessories are to date and trendy such as Tote Bags, Bucket Hats, Scrunchies and Head Band which target Gen Z and millennials. Moreover, the act of getting the community to donate their used clothes for their materials and in return getting a discount for their purchase indeed brings out the sustainability of their co-operative idea.
SocialBEEs is really a bee in the ecosystem of the Co-operative movement. Its’ producer co-operative model of helping home-based businesses to be the owners as well as members of the co-operatives displayed a strong understanding of the co-operative structure. SocialBEEs aims to be the connector for buyers supplies and other stakeholders to build a strong local community for home-based businesses to effectively market and brand their products or service to the mass through either as a mobile application or website. It was truly a tough fight to place them at 1st runner up of the Open Category of Creathon 2021 as the judges deliberated.
Congratulation to Urban Origins for being 1st in place for Open Category of Creathon 2021 whose co-operative idea was to be a marketplace platform dedicated to all local food sources in Singapore for consumers which combined local urban farm produce, agri-food tech products, upcycled food, alternative protein and home-based food and beverage businesses. This co-operative idea echoes the 1st place of School Category of Creathon 2021 which is also to strengthen food security in Singapore too. Urban Origins walked away with $4,000 and seed funding of up to $10,000 should it formalise to be a co-operative.
In this unprecedented time, leveraging on technologies while remains relevant is what we have to be and ought to embrace as we will never be the same as ever. Hence, we need to forget about the past and look ahead! This Creathon 2021 has shown that despite a tough year that 2020 had been, as we emerge stronger together with a heart to continue to support one another, we will shine again, co-operatives will continue to thrive!