A heart of gold does not keep a company afloat

A heart of gold does not keep a company afloat

Social Inc. TV show pairs social entrepreneurs with successful CEOs

Social entrepreneurs in Singapore made it on to the small screen this year in a program called “Social Inc.”, which features a new rising social enterprise each episode matched with a CEO mentor who will help improve their odds of success.

Singaporean social entrepreneurs, benefitting from national policy, are known to receive a wide range of support from different groups, including government, corporations, and think tanks.

A 5-episode reality show, Social Inc. goes over some of the entrepreneurs’ challenges and brings in a local entrepreneur to offer advice.

Episode 1: Laksania Redefined

Sim Sin Sin left a comfortable job working at her family’s restaurant empire to start Laksania, a food and beverage social enterprise hiring marginalized people and serving up a popular Southeast Asian soul food, laksa.  However, two of her three restaurants are swimming in the red.  To help turn things around, Lyn Lee, an ex-lawyer who founded Awfully Chocolate and built a multi-million dollar cake shop starting with just one chocolate cake, is put to the challenge.

Episode 2: Aii Sweets Repackaged

You may be familiar with Leona Leong, the founder of candy business Aii.  While she manages to turn a profit, some months are harder to get by, so this young and inexperienced entrepreneur hopes to improve her business.  In comes Nicholas Ng, the founder of FoodXervices Inc, Singapore’s market leader in foodservice distribution with over S$30 million in annual revenue.

Episode 3: Silver Spring Retrained

Founding her social enterprise in 2009, Helen Lim, now 65, is the Managing Director of Silver Spring, an employment agency focused on seniors.   Lim rejects the idea of “being old and being weak” and wants to bring senior talents back into the workforce.  However, good intentions aren’t enough to sustain the business.  Richard Hoon, the CEO of I Search Worldwide, a headhunting firm focusing on C-level executives, coaches her on doing well to do good.

Episode 4: Gone Adventurin’ Retrained

Gone Adventurin’ co-founder Ashwin Subramaniam left a stable job at a bank to work on this company, which creates outdoor adventures with a social cause to support a company’s branding efforts.  But he hasn’t secured a client for the past six months.  Jörg Dietzel, a PR guru who has previously worked at DDB China, DDB Berlin, BBDO Asia, and now runs his own agency Jorg Dietzel Group, will try to help rebrand the company.

Episode 5: Purple Threads Reclothed

Purple Threads is an online store started by Shamla Ramasamy that sells adaptive clothing to the disabled and elderly.  For many in a wheelchair, normal clothing can be difficult to put on and obstructs the ability to carry out daily functions.  But sales for the business are slow and supplies are uncertain.  Bert Tan is the Director of Bodynits International, and is given the task to take the business further.

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