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Singapore Government

At Least $250,000 Per Year to Fund and Mentor Youth Social Enterprise Startups

At Least $250,000 Per Year to Fund and Mentor Youth Social Enterprise Startups

Published On
07 Jul 2013

The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) has launched the Youth Social Entrepreneurship Programme for Start-Ups (YSEP Start-Ups) with an annual budget of $250,000 to fund youths between 18 and 35 years to develop social enterprise start-ups in the social service sector. Each startup can potentially receive a grant of up to $50,000.

YSEP Start-Ups builds on MSF’s current efforts to support schools in raising awareness of social entrepreneurship among students. These efforts include the YSEP for Schools, which was launched in 2012 to fund educational programmes in schools and Institutions of Higher Learning that inculcate positive values in youths and equip them with social entrepreneurial skills.

YSEP Startups is a new tier of funding under the ComCare Enterprise Fund to broaden MSF’s support for innovative and promising social enterprise ideas.

MSF is collaborating with NUS Entrepreneurship Centre (NEC) and SMU Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE) as mentors and administrating partners for YSEP Start-Ups. These institutions will provide students and graduates with incubation support, as well as project coordination to help them start their social enterprises. Moving forward, MSF will explore similar arrangements with other Institutions of Higher Learning, polytechnics and ITEs, so as to extend YSEP Start-Ups to more young people.

Successful social enterprises under YSEP Start-Ups should serve social objectives and address social needs innovatively. They should have sustainable business models, organizational capabilities and growth potential, and led by committed and passionate management teams with strong entrepreneurial spirit.

Acting Minister for Ministry of Social and Family Development, Mr Chan Chun Sing, said, “Young people have a lot of energy and ideas and they are inspired by social causes. Supporting young people to start social enterprises will help inject vibrancy and creativity for the development of our local social enterprise sector. With YSEP Start-Ups, I look forward to seeing more youths taking the initiative to address social needs in local communities”.

Encl: Annex A and B



 YSEP for Start Ups provides up to 80% of the total projected capital expenditure and first year operating expenditure, capped at $50,000

 Applicants should contribute the remaining capital, and commit to at least 20% of the funding quantum (capped at $50,000)* as its capital injection during the start-up period*

*To qualify for maximum grant support of $50,000, the applicant needs to contribute at least $12,500 as capital injection.

 Disbursement of funds would be in 2-3 tranches, tied to achievement of pre-determined outcomes/developmental milestones. Supporting documentation as evidence of having met milestones, and evidence of expenditure of released funds must be submitted before the next tranche is disbursed.

 An upfront disbursement of up to not more than 50% of total approved funding quantum may be awarded upon company incorporation and personal capital injection by applicant.

 The grant can be used for:

o Manpower and operating expenses

o Purchase of equipment, software, materials and consumables

o Acquisition of intellectual property (IP) rights

o Professional services

o Marketing and promotional activities


All applications submitted via the administrating IHLs would have to fulfil the eligibility criteria under YSEP for Start-Ups as outlined below:

 Compelling social objective

o Addresses a particular social need in an innovative manner.

o Social impact should be local, and benefit the social services sector.

o Eligible social enterprise models include, but are not restricted to the following:

 Work integration/Job creation: Key social mission is to provide training and/or employment opportunities for needy disadvantaged Singaporeans.

 Plough-back profit: Key social mission is to generate profit/revenue to support non-profit social programmes or outcomes

 Subsidized services: Key social mission is to provide subsidized services for the dis:advantaged who might not be able to afford mainstream services

 Social needs: Key social mission is to address a broad social need, such as family bonding, or racial harmony, through its product/services

o All models of social enterprises operating within the social services would be considered, but priority would be given to work integration social enterprises.

 Feasibility and sustainability

o Viable and potentially sustainable business model.

o Reasonable organisational capabilities and capacity to achieve sustainability and growth.

 Quality of management team

o Applicant and the team should be committed to the business and demonstrate the passion and entrepreneurial spirit to realise their idea.

o Team should demonstrate a mindset geared towards results, accountability and sound business and social principles.

o Team should preferably have relevant experience to demonstrate their ability to implement the social enterprise successfully.


Eligible applicants:

 Youths aged between 18 – 35 years.

 Key applicant must be Singaporean, or Permanent Resident of Singapore.

 Current students are allowed to apply, but should demonstrate substantial commitment to the start-up (hours committed per week etc).

 Interested youths must apply to MSF through either of the following administrating IHLs:

o NUS Enterprise

o SMU Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Eligible start-ups:

 Social enterprise start-up benefitting the local social services sector. Applications from the arts, health or environment sectors would not be considered.

 New business / company, incorporated for not more than 12 months.

 Company’s main business activities are based in Singapore.

 Company / Business / Individual have not received any other start-up related grants (ACE Start-Up etc).

 Company / Business / Individual have not received any government grants.

 Members of the management team must hold at least 50% equity while receiving support from MSF.


 Half-yearly progress reports outlining the progress of the start-up should be submitted to MSF.

 No profit-taking from the start-up is allowed for period of contract with MSF, but applicants are allowed draw a salary from the social enterprise. 


 The administrating Institute of Higher Learning (IHLs) will provide incubation and mentorship for the start-up for at least 12 months, except in the case of applicants which have secured their own operating/incubation space and mentors by their own merits/affiliation.

 The administrating IHL will also assign mentor(s) to work with and support the start-up throughout the period of funding by MSF.

 The administrating IHL should preferably be the alma-mater or current school of the main applicant.

 The administrating IHL will also assign mentor(s) to work with and support the start-up throughout the period of funding by MSF.

 The administrating IHL should preferably be the alma-mater or current school of the main applicant.

Scope of Support by administrating IHLs:

 As an MSF Administrating Partner for the YSEP Start-Up Programme, the Institution be providing support such as the below:

a) Marketing the Programme to its students;

b) Providing general advice to the Programme applicants on the application process (i.e. how to apply);

c) Providing support for applicants, applications, as well as approved projects under the Programme such as:

o Ensure that applicants meet the eligibility criteria;

o Provide general business consultancy and guidance on the feasibility and potential of project ideas;

o Provide administrative support and project coordination for the running of the Programme;

o Provide incubation support to approved applicants. For e.g. physical space and mentoring​

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