In an enterprise, challenges are natural. Do you remember the feeling when you were starting? It was difficult but if you surpassed it, you will surely endure many others that will come your way. The founder of the Bliss Restaurant who won the 2013 President’s Challenge Social Enterprise Award also felt some bumps along the way. Ms. Christine Low’s establishment was commended because of its social mission. Her business is employing people with intellectual and physical disabilities.

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She put up a new outlet at Jalan Besar but she admitted that she needs more knowledge to be more successful. She hopes to get some insights and ideas to sharpen her entrepreneurial skills and business operations with the help of Social Enterprise Mentoring Programme. The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSFD) piloted this programme.

Here’s what you need to know about Social Enterprise Mentoring Programme:

Nature of the Programme

The programme seeks to assist social enterprises when it comes to managing business operations and enhancing their entrepreneurial skills. You should know that the programme is made possible by Empact Pte Ltd and Social Enterprise Association. MSF is positive that the corporate professionals and the social enterprise entrepreneurs will share skills that can help each one. With this mentoring programme, MSF is hopeful that social impact will be increased.

The Process

The mentorship programme commenced in December 2013. It included five social enterprises. These social enterprises will be mentored by businessmen and corporate executives. The social enterprises need to complete 8 months of mentoring. During these months, mentors will teach social enterprises strategic planning, business development, marketing and other crucial areas to be successful. The mentors are expected to commit time (at least once a month) with their mentee (the social enterprises) to talk and address any struggles and challenges that they encountered.

Looking Forward

Remember that this is only a pilot programme. Not all social enterprises are given the chance to be mentored as of the moment. As mentioned earlier, 5 social enterprises were identified to start this programme. The results will be evaluated and reviewed in July 2014. If it is successful, the programme might be expanded to help many social entrepreneurs. That is something to look forward to.

This mentoring programme is no doubt a big help to social enterprises. If the programme should expand, other social enterprises should grab the opportunities to be taught for the sake of their workforce who are mostly intellectual and physical disabilities. This programme only seeks to help social enterprises and it will remain that way.

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