- POSTED: 20 Dec 2013 21:23
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Three social enterprises were recognised on Friday for their contributions to the community. SATA CommHealth and Bliss Restaurant were awarded Social Enterprise of the Year, while Bettr Barista Coffee Academy won the award for Social Enterprise Start-up of the Year.
SINGAPORE: Three social enterprises were recognised on Friday for their contributions to the community.
President Tony Tan Keng Yam presented the awards at the 2013 President's Challenge Social Enterprise Award, which recognises successful and sustainable social enterprises in Singapore.
SATA CommHealth and Bliss Restaurant were awarded Social Enterprise of the Year, while Bettr Barista Coffee Academy won the award for Social Enterprise Start-up of the Year.
Bettr Barista Coffee Academy: Changing lives one cup at a time
Learning to make a good cup of coffee has changed Chetra Doraisamy's life in more ways than she could have imagined.
The mother of four was dealt a painful blow when her husband of 30 years decided to leave her.
Ms Chetra said: "(It was) very difficult. (I couldn’t) share things with friends because I was scared they’d look down on me; I couldn’t go out, couldn’t enjoy, because I was stuck inside the house because I had to face a lot of things -- face my husband's problem, my children's problems."
The 45-year old was working as a cleaner at the time, and she then told a social worker that she wanted a change.
Ms Chetra was referred to Bettr Barista Coffee Academy, where for 12 weeks, she was trained professionally in the art of coffee-making.
She also received counselling throughout the programme.
Ms Chetra now works as a barista at an F&B outlet.
She said: "I've got my own confidence now. Last time, I wasn't confident."
For its work in helping marginalised women and youths-at-risk, Bettr Barista was awarded the Social Enterprise Start-Up of the Year.
Bettr Barista provides subsidies to the needy to participate in their training programme. To fund its social programme, it offers coffee education classes, products and services to the public, organisations, schools and the F&B industry.
To date, Bettr Barista has trained over 880 people in all things coffee.
But trying to balance its commercial and social impact has been a challenge for the two-year-old company.
Pamela Chng, founder of Bettr Barista, said: "Trying to become financially sustainable but yet always focus on the core of who we are, and what we are doing, which is trying to change lives -- sometimes that doesn't necessarily go hand in hand."
SATA CommHealth: Focused on its mission
Ms Chng said what has kept her business sustainable is an unwavering focus, something which Dr K Thomas Abraham also knows too well.
He joined social enterprise SATA CommHealth as its chief executive officer because of his passion to serve the community.
SATA provides subsidised medical care, community health screening and homecare services to the under-privileged.
And it is one of the winners for this year's Social Enterprise of the Year.
SATA reaches out to more than 30,000 beneficiaries annually.
Dr Abraham said it is important for social enterprises to be "mission-centric".
He elaborated: "If you have a mission in place, work around that mission and stay focused around that mission -- if it’s helping people, if it's doing good to the community, society. Another is internally, having the discipline and the organisation as a whole being ready to face the challenges ahead when they scale up, when they look at new opportunities and how to remain sustainable."
Going forward, SATA plans to move into home nursing care.