Social enterprises and entrepreneurs are close to my heart. Dell has continuously embraced the principles of innovation and entrepreneurship since its inception and Michael Dell, our chairman and founder, is a strong advocate as the United Nation Foundation’s first Global Advocate for Entrepreneurship. Technology is a driving force for society as well as business and, by enabling entrepreneurs using the power of technology, we’re contributing positively to human progress.
But technology’s power isn’t only in taking ideas and turning them into reality, enabling innovation or creating new solutions. It also helps create ecosystems – it can facilitate new connections, accelerate working relationships and help organizations discover best practices. It can democratize access to resources, people and technology – for social entrepreneurs, these connections are invaluable and necessary. It can be used to better understand and quantify the problem to be addressed – proving why there is a need for a solution and investment. It can also help organizations move quickly from proof of concept, to proof of application.
This year, Dell became the first official Digital Partner for the 2017 DBS-NUS Social Venture Challenge (SVC) Asia. Organized by DBS Foundation and National University of Singapore (NUS) Enterprise, SVC Asia is an annual APJ-wide competition, creating a platform to identify and support new ideas and existing social ventures that have the potential to generate positive, scalable, and sustainable social impact.
Taking our commitment further to supporting social entrepreneurs, earlier this month Dell’s judging panel chose two inspirational social businesses among the 16 finalists at SVC Asia, that stood to benefit the most from digital technologies, and presented them the inaugural Dell Digital Award:
- Imagtor in Vietnam helps People with Disabilities (PwDs) have a successful career by equipping them with employable skill sets and providing an empowering work environment. It employs and trains PwDs to provide competitively priced high-quality digital services for international clients, such as video and photography editing. Imagtor aims to expand its connected workplace (home office and partner network) with an upgraded IT infrastructure and software.
- TEMU in Indonesia aims to break the cycle of poverty in urban slums through providing low-skilled workers with access to job opportunities. Their mobile and web application collects data from job providers and job seekers, and synthesizes the data to match individuals with the right job opportunities. TEMU aims to further improve its application in areas such as security and automation.
I am deeply inspired by these entrepreneurs and their mission to help the underserved by transforming mindsets and business. I have been fortunate to help social enterprises such as Imagtor in setting up their computer center to train PwDs earlier this year. Meeting the co-founder, Nguyen Thi Van, in Vietnam, I had the privilege to observe the extent to which Van has gone to ensuring a sustainable means of income for PwDs and changing perception of the handicapped – something that is difficult to achieve in many parts of the world even through government initiatives.
Over the next six months, Dell executives and our team members will be investing their time in mentoring these businesses to help them realize their social and business ambitions. By providing its expertise, support, resources, and access to a network, we’re hoping to encourage other budding social entrepreneurs in the region to start their journey’s and use technology to their advantage.
In short, the power of technology is immense, and can help address society’s challenges from beginning to end and enable more businesses to do good and be successful. These awards are just one example of how this can be put into action. If you feel you have knowledge and skills that would be useful to social entrepreneurs across the region, including our winners, I’d love to hear from you. Together, let’s build a network for good.
Learn more about the SVC Asia awards here.