Creathon 2020: Singaporean youth pitch ideas for cooperative enterprises

26 Feb 2020

The Singapore National Co-operative Federation (SNCF) held Creathon 2020, its first business challenge event for young people, on 18-19 January at ‘A Good Space’ at Clarke Quay.

Around 200 young people from across the country took part in this business challenge with two categories, secondary school students and youth in the age group of 17-35.

With this event, SNCF aimed to raise awareness about cooperatives, create new cooperatives that address social issues, foster a strong social enterprise community and instil entrepreneurship and a cooperative mind-set in youth.

SNCF chair Kwek Kok Kwong opened the event and set the tone for sessions on the basics of cooperatives. This included an introduction to cooperative principles, the global cooperative movement, a comparison between cooperatives and other enterprises, and steps needed to set up a cooperative in Singapore.

Next, Justin Lee from the Institute of Policy Studies, Singapore, delivered a presentation on the theme ‘From Designing Cooperatives to Designing Cooperation’. He touched on the application of design thinking in the development of cooperatives. Mathew Poh from The Caffeine Experience motivated the audience through his personal experience from being an offender to an entrepreneur. Aaron Soon, co-founder of Bev.Eat Pte Ltd, shared his insights into how the first two cooperative principles ensure cooperatives are structured to scale and sustain social impact. These engaging sessions with key industry experts were followed by interactive group sessions where participants worked on their own business ideas.

On day two of Creathon 2020, Roy Chong, founding partner of FRESHER, addressed the different elements to take into consideration when starting any enterprise, such as business strategy, competitors, sales or human resources. Daniel Teh from Popejai Pte Ltd highlighted the social element of his venture, in which 90% of Popejai’s workforce comes from marginalised sections of the community. The final session was delivered by Tan Bao Yi of NVPC Knowledge and Insights and focused on ‘Sector insights of 2019’, with special emphasis on environment, low income and mental health. 

Creathon 2020 was brought to a close with business pitches by the young participants. The groups put forward inspiring cooperative business plans that centred on addressing 21st century human social problems such as healthcare accessibility, care for the elderly, sustainable tourism and access to quality education. Pitches were evaluated by a five-member panel of judges on the idea and concept (40%); social impact (30%); application of idea (20%); and quality of the pitch (10%).


The winning team from the Open category, seen in the picture above, pitched a locally led sustainable tourism cooperative model based on community ownership. Events such as Creathon 2020 show immense potential for engaging youth in cooperative entrepreneurship and enhancing their exposure to the cooperative values and business model. 

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