On 18 September, Singapore National Co-operative Federation (SNCF) will turn 40.

For 40 years, SNCF as the apex body of the co-operative movement has been actively engaging the co-operatives in both social and economic development in Singapore.

Here is a look back of the activities of the 40 years of co-labouring with the regulators and co-operators with its initial objectives of:

  1. To propagate the principles practice of co-operation;
  2. To promote co-operative education, carry out research and collect and disseminate information connected with and for the purpose of co-operative development;
  3. To provide management, accounting, legal, educational and other advisory services for affiliates; and
  4. To organise and represent the co-operative movement in Singapore.


#1: Capability training

SNCF begins its operation by organising activities to raise the standards of management within the co-operatives. To reach out to the members (affiliates), talks, workshops and seminars were conducted to bring a greater awareness of co-operative and its principles to members and public.

The lack of manpower of professionals working in the co-operative sectors was a key issue during the first decade. Hence, to strengthen the managers of the co-operatives of their professionalism, SNCF launched a two years course on Effective Management of Co-operative in November 1981. Topic such as co-operative legislation, accountancy, financial management, investment, financial analysis, problem-solving, decision-making, marketing techniques, membership and promotion were shared during the training course.

Making use of technology especially during this pandemic, SNCF brought the capability training online! It is heartening to see mature workers embracing the digitalisation well and being good at it for some!

first virtual capability training 2020

First capability training regarding the use of Zoom and Adobe E-signing to our affiliates.


#2: Facilitating and Networking

To keep the co-operators abreast of the co-operative movement, SNCF ran various social activities catering to the regulators, members and staff of the affiliates to promote collaboration between affiliates.

Activities such as:

New Year Reception

New Year Reception 2020

SNCF New Year Reception 2020

Anniversary Dinner

38th anniversary dinner

SNCF 38th Anniversary Dinner with the energetic crowd.

Annual Co-operative Leaders Conference

ACLC 2018 break out room

Annual Co-operative Leaders Conference 2018’s breakout room with the participants.

These activities bonded all parties closer as they exchanged ideas and possible collaboration within the co-operative movement in such events.

The Central Co-operative Fund (CCF) which provides CCF grants to support the development and growth of the co-operative in Singapore. SNCF as the CCF Secretariat helps to facilitate and administer the grants to co-operatives to further

With the focus on good governance, accountability and transparency, SNCF works closely with the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth to ensure the relevancy of co-operatives with the ever-changing business environment according to today’s context. The close relationship with regulator helps to enhance the co-operative framework to remove the outdated prescriptive requirement, and also healthy exchange with the regulator to relax on its’ intervention in the daily’s operations of Co-operatives, especially in the Credit Co-operatives.


#3: SNCF Scholarship

To nurture altruistic and enterprising individuals to join the co-operative movement, SNCF launched the Co-operative Scholarship in 2008.

SNCF Scholars gathering at NYR 2018

This scholarship is an undergraduate local degree scholarship which supports talented and high-calibre students with a heart for the people. Learn more about SNCF Co-operative Scholarship via our SCOOP Youth Portal.


#4: Campus and Youth Programme

Other than the usual assembly talk sharing to schools, Community Outreach Programme was birth to bring cheers to the elderly in under the SASCO’s Nursing Home and Day Care Centre as well as NTUC Health since 2015. Students are engaged to plan, implement and execute their meaningful engagement with the elderly through liaising directly with their chosen vendors as part of their Value in Action Programme.

NP students doing COP

Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s students from Diploma of Business and Social Enterprise inviting residents to their programme.

SCOOP Trail was introduced in 2014 where it aims to raise awareness of the co-operative movement through amazing race around Singapore. Targeting the youth from Institute of Higher Learning (ITE, Polytechnic, Junior College, University, 17 to 35 years old), group of 4 to 5 people will race against time as they receive missions to solve at various stations.

In hope of minimising the cumbersome process of Campus Co-operatives after feedback from the teachers anchoring the Campus Co-operatives, Coop Club Programme was carefully thought through in 2016. Coop Club Programme empowers students to run a first-hand experience of running a business with a social cause through creatives and enterprising way. This programme not only gives students the opportunity to have a chance to be their own boss andit also allows the students to be exposed to real-life co-operatives through the Learning Journey to chart their next education pathway.

hua yi sec sch coopclub sale day

Hua Yi Secondary School Coop Club with its shopfront (Loong Moon Coffee House) having its sale activities.

From 3 schools to 19 schools since 2016, the youth of the Coop Club had been inculcated with social entrepreneurship through the basic business programme before they established their first sale event. Through their initiatives, the earning of the Coop Club either will be reinvested back to the Coop Club or certain amount will be donated to the chosen beneficiaries. Giving them a chance to do well and do good.

Three questions that SNCF and Co-operators should continue to ask of themselves will be:

  1. How relevant is the co-operative movement in today’s context? – Are we still relevant?
  2. What needs to be done to ensure that SNCF and co-operatives will continue to serve a useful purpose? – Have we outlived our usefulness?
  3. How should co-operatives and SNCF prepare for the future?

The answers will continue to be the driving force of the existence of SNCF and co-operatives for the next 40 years to go.

Thank you for the continuous support for the past 40 years and we look forward to build a stronger bonding, especially with the youths for the next 40 years to come!

Happy 40th Birthday SNCF!