Introducing the Singapore Chapter

October 20, 2018

BfE aspires to help as many people as possible all over the world, and for this reason we have four different chapters: Cambridge, New York, Sydney, and Singapore. This week, we are delighted to present the Singapore team’s detailed analysis of their progress since the founding of the Singapore Chapter in August 2017!

The BfE Singapore Chapter was established in August 2017 by Jiaqing and Jeremy, our two former presidents. Since then, we’ve come a long way in completing two rounds of finance advisory and consulting engagements. This semester, we have kickstarted our own in-house consulting team as well under Cheri’s leadership, and we are in our third cycle of finance advisory engagements under Jarren!  

This year, we have also held several sharing sessions to train our members and to expose them to the social entrepreneurship and financing scene in the region. These include:

  • Wateroam, a social enterprise in Singapore developing water filtration solutions for rural and disaster areas.
  • Ian Yeo, a career banker from DZ Bank, who shared with the team more about debt-financing and the banking industry. 
  • Arti Srivastava, an Associate at Bamboo Capital Partners (an Impact Investment Fund), who shared his experience on how impact investment funds work, how to raise capital for social enterprises, and what investors look for in pitches for social enterprises.  

Our Finance Advisory Team

Can you introduce us to your team?

We currently have 5 members in our team, Branwen, Kai Feng, Amanda, Xiang Yun and Jarren, working on 2 projects concurrently, one based in India and another based in Ghana. Valerie and Sabrina sit in as well to help us with various aspects of our engagements. Anthony and Ryan, who are based in the UK and Singapore respectively, are our mentors, advising and guiding us throughout our engagements with social enterprises.

What is the role of the Finance Advisory Team within BfE Singapore? 

Our team has two key roles. Primarily, we are here to empower start-ups to be investor-ready. Our vision is to enable entrepreneurs to access funding that can help them achieve their ambitions. Therefore, we provide suggestions to help start-ups polish their pitch deck. The other role that we fulfill is assisting start-ups in their search for suitable financial sources. With the assistance of professional mentors with expertise in the field, we research which type of financing is appropriate, whether that be Angel investors, venture capitalists, or crowdfunding. We seek to be resourceful in searching for investors that would match well with the individual start-ups we work with, for example some investors target a certain industry or region. 

What have been some of the team’s highlights? 

BfE Singapore as a whole has been rapidly expanding over the last year and the Finance Advisory Team has been part of this dynamic movement. In the first half of this year, we managed to successfully conclude 2 engagements with 2 different startups. In the second half of the year, we decided to keep the current teams lean and focus on both helping the start-ups to the best of our ability and maximising personal growth at the same time.

Has there been a particularly challenging engagement, or period, for the team? How was this challenge overcome? 

Everyone has clashing deadlines, commitments or even examinations. We seek to overcome this by first laying out the expectations and setting the timeline right from the start of the engagement.

What is the vision for the Finance Team for the coming months? 

We want to improve the training that we provide to associates so that we can enable individuals to flourish and develop their skills, which will in turn improve the service we can provide to the start-ups. We also seek to establish more fruitful relationships between start-ups, directors and associates.

Our Consulting Team

Can you introduce us to your team?

We currently have 3 members: Cheri leads the Consulting Team at present, working alongside Shi Min and Xin Yu. The team is working on two Consulting engagements – one of which is led by the BfE Consulting team while the other is conducted by a partnering Consulting society in Singapore. The team also works closely with two key mentors for the in-house consulting project, Tag and Olivier, who are based in Singapore and the UK respectively. 

What is the role of the Consulting Team within BfE Singapore? 

As part of a holistic process to offer adequate support to the social enterprises in Bridges for Enterprise, the Consulting team plays an integral role in analyzing each social enterprise from a business and social standpoint. Thereafter, feasible recommendations are proposed for the business based on the insights generated. The social enterprises typically enter the engagement with a central issue or a general direction they are looking to explore. The BfE Consulting team first acknowledges the issue or direction at hand but always looks towards digging deeper, analyzing further, researching and considering all perspectives in order to propose a strategy that will support the business in its growth moving forward. The professional mentors play a key role in this aspect by providing their expertise in advising both the team and startups.

What have been some of the team’s highlights? 

When BfE first started out in the Singapore chapter, the Consulting engagements were all conducted with its partners in the Asia-Pacific region. In a bid to deliver greater impact and have greater ownership over the engagements at hand, the Singapore team decided to kick-start an in-house Consulting team this year with 3 main members, taking on a key Consulting project with a social enterprise from Kenya. It has been a fulfilling journey for the team in putting together analytical frameworks, consulting decks, and working closely with the startup and the two professional mentors assigned.

Has there been a particularly challenging engagement, or period, for the team? How was this challenge overcome? 

As a small team of 3 people simultaneously handling 2 engagements, alongside major commitments for all members, it has certainly been a challenge for each member to juggle multiple responsibilities. However, this challenge has always been easily overcome with clearer communication, more well-thought-out agendas to ensure that meetings are fruitful and frequent check-ins to ensure all members are coping well.

What is the vision for the Consulting Team for the coming months? 

Our vision for the Consulting Team is to grow the team marginally and provide adequate training for all members while ensuring a close-knit, family-like culture. In that way, BfE Singapore will be able to provide the maximum impact to all start-ups and members.

A huge thanks to the Singapore team, the mentors and the representatives of the start-ups who made this dream come true!