Social Innovators Hack!: Tackling the 3Cs of the Social Sector

How can an average person help Social Enterprises (SEs) gain access to resources and continue doing good work for the community? This is the question we tried to answer at the Social Innovators Hack! (14 and 15 November 2015).

Organised by UP Singapore, Social Innovation Park (SIP) and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), the Social Innovators Hack! was a unique opportunity for the members of the UP Singapore community to contribute to building a robust social marketplace and promote the growth of Singapore’s Social sector. The hackathon addressed its core issue through three simple themes that regularly pose challenges for SEs in Singapore:

  • Collaboration: Enable Social Innovators to pool and share ideas and resources
  • Commerce: Match SEs with corporate customers
  • Communication: Connect Social Organisations with their volunteers and retain them

The Pre-Hackathon Workshop for the Social Innovators Hack! was held on 3 November 2015 at the IDA Labs @ NDC. Over 100 eager participants attended this weeknight event to learn more about the hackathon’s themes and challenges. The workshop began with a short introduction to the hackathon from Yang Xinyi (SIP) and Joycelyn Sim (SIP), followed by introductions to the three themes by the guest speakers:

  • Introduction to the Collaboration theme — Grace Sai, Co-Founder and CEO, The Hub Singapore
  • Introduction to the Commerce theme — Christian Eber, Managing Director, CE Engineering
  • Introduction to the Communications theme — Wan Kum Seong, Research Engineer, A*STAR
Guest speaker Grace Sai at the Pre-Hackathon Workshop

The talks were followed by UP Singapore’s signature idea pitching and team matchmaking sessions. Like most of our hackathons, the room was filled with people with diverse backgrounds and skillsets. Although there were quite a few participants representing SEs, most of the attendees were not from the social sector. The variety of perspectives in the room made for an entertaining idea pitching session and a lively team matchmaking. By the end of the workshop, we had over a dozen teams, with more than a week till the actual hackathon.

Participants at the hackathon kick-off on Saturday!

The Social Innovators Hack! kicked off early on Saturday morning (14 November 2015) at BASH, a new co-working space on Ayer Rajah Crescent. After a warm welcome from Yang Xinyi (SIP) and Derrick Chiang (UP Singapore), the pre-formed teams started working on their solutions. For the individuals who were still looking for teams, we had yet another idea pitching and team matchmaking session to help them find their perfect hackathon team.

Team A-SAP started hacking early on Saturday morning

The teams worked on their solutions until lunch. In the afternoon, it was time for the mentorship sessions. Yang Xinyi, Joycelyn Sim, Christian Eber and Wan Kum Seong (speakers from the Pre-Hackathon Workshop) came back as mentors. They were joined by Larry Tchiou (UNFRAMED) and Seow Hui Hong (raiSE). The six guided the teams through the challenges they were tackling to ensure that their solutions were headed in the right direction.

Mentor Christian Eber (second from right) with Team YNC Hacks
Mentor Larry Tchiou (left) with Team Let’s Move

We were also lucky to have several mentors from HPE. This team of HPE mentors were there all throughout the hackathon to provide tech support to teams that needed support for their prototypes. A big thanks to Javier Galvez, Senthil Prakash K, Shashank Dixit, Tom Goh, Lakshmi Nagarajan and the rest of the HPE team for volunteering their time and skills for the hackathon!

The HPE team!

The hackathon was not all about work, though. The teams had full access to the cool space at BASH, which provided just the right balance of work and play. There were quite a few spirited games of table tennis, foosball and pool throughout the day, sometimes even between different teams. Participants also used UP Singapore’s new photo booth to unwind and take fun pictures. The mentors also joined in on the fun from time to time! The happy hacking went on till 10PM at night, when we closed the venue for the day.

(From left) Mentors Wan Kum Seong, Joycelyn Sim, Yang Xinyi and Seow Hui Hong.

Pitch clinic with Team ROJAKS#2

Sunday morning began with the pitch clinic conducted by Adam Lyle (UP Singapore) and Derrick Chiang. UP Singapore regulars will tell you that these pitch clinics are an UP Singapore tradition, designed to prepare teams for the final presentations in the afternoon. By the end of the clinic, 17 teams were selected to present in the finals.

The judges for the final presentations were:

  • Anoop Kumar Bhat, Portfolio and Strategy Sales Leader Hewlett Packard Asia Pacific & Japan
  • Penny Low, Founder & President, Social Innovation Park
  • Sam Liew, Managing Director, Accenture ASEAN Technology
(From left) Judges Sam Liew, Penny Low and Anoop Kumar Bhat

Teams were judged based on their solutions’ impact, feasibility, innovative-ness, quality of prototype and their use of the HPE Helion Development platform. Also, for this hackathon, we had a People’s Choice Award for the most popular team / presentation. Here’s a look at the winning teams:

1st Prize: Let’s Move

Team Let’s Move consisted of a social entrepreneur, a Yale-NUS student and a software engineer. Together, they created Social Dash, a B2B e-commerce platform that matches for-profit businesses with social enterprises for procurement of corporate gift products.

Team Let’s Move

2nd Prize: Gingerabbit

Team Gingerabbit hails from a local health start-up. They created a platform for volunteers to collaborate on providing healthy dining information and a site for members to access that information real-time.

Team Gingerabbit

3rd Place: Volu

Also a start-up team, Team Volu developed an event marketplace that helps organisations recruit volunteers according to skills they require. The solution matches organisations with the volunteer’s location, displays how many of their friends are attending a particular event and tracks their volunteering experience using points.

Team Volu

Best HPE Helion App: A-SAP

As you might have guessed from their name, Team A-SAP is from SAP SE, the multinational software company. They created a platform that allows people with mobility restrictions to organise and schedule delivery requests. This way older adults or PWDs will have access their basic needs (such as groceries or laundry) and can deliver things to their friends and family. In addition, volunteers and logistics companies can use this platform for volunteering and CSR opportunities.

Team A-SAP

Best Tech: CareU

This team used their application to address the caring and sharing economy. Users can earn “Care Credits” (a social currency) when they help others and can redeem these credits to get help from others. Their application is powered by blockchain technology, thus making it universal.

Team CareU

Best Design: ROJAKS#2

This is a team of individuals who only met each at the Pre-Hackathon Workshop. Their application, Careville, is a multi-stakeholder platform that connects volunteers, voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs) and social organisations. It removes initial barriers to entry by encouraging volunteers to log on and find localised volunteering opportunities using a map. Volunteers get badges for their volunteer efforts as incentives for them to volunteer again.


People’s Choice: YNC Hacks

A team of students from the Yale-NUS College, Team YNC Hacks came up with Spotlight.SG, a centralised location-based platform. Corporates, SMEs and VWOs can find projects to fund or support in their immediate neighbourhood and have access to social media tools to help them pass on the message.

Team YNC Hacks

In addition to the prizes above, there are two special prizes which SIP will award to two deserving participants over the next few weeks. These include a spot in INSEAD’s Social Entrepreneurship Programme and a spot in SIP’s Social Innovators Accelerator (SIA) Course. Follow our Facebook page to learn who the lucky winners will be!


The Social Innovators Hack! demonstrated that collaboration is the best path to innovation. All you have to do is put several talented and passionate people together in one room and watch them apply their skills and creativity. It was very inspiring to see participants using their unique experiences and skills to find solutions to the most pressing challenges in the social sector.

Over the next few weeks, SIH will be working with the winning teams to implement their solutions and make a difference to this industry. We wish them the very best of luck and look forward to future collaborations with them and everyone else who participated in the hackathon!

Like what you read? Give UP Singapore a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.