Singapore, 4 September 2014:  Two inspired young finalists saw their projects recognised and awarded at the Project Inspire 2014 Grand Finals which were held in Singapore yesterday. Their inspirational projects transforming the lives of disadvantaged women in Vietnam and Cambodia received grants totalling US$35,000.

Project Inspire: 5 Minutes to Change the World 2014, co-organized by Singapore Committee for UN Women and MasterCard for the fourth consecutive year saw over 500 entries from a record of 70 countries around the world.

The judges picked the two following presentations by 10 finalists who were flown in for yesterday’s Grand Finals event.

REACH received the grand prize of US$25,000 for its winning project ‘Supporting Disadvantaged Young Women through Vocational Training and Job Placement Program, which will transform the lives of disadvantaged women in Vietnam by providing them with a range of skills training (from web design to hairdressing).  Once trained, the program will also assist these women with job placements and provide follow-up support.

On winning the grant, REACH’s team leader Pham Thi Ngoc Mai founder, who spoke compellingly in the five-minute pitch to the judging panel, said, “I was surprised to win the Grand Prize because I have seen the other projects and they are all amazing. For us as an organisation, the grant will help us expand our work helping young women from disadvantaged backgrounds gain livelihood skills, meaningful employment & empower them to stand on their own feet.”

This year, Singapore Committee for UN Women and MasterCard announced a brand new US$10,000 grant awarded to the runner-up, courtesy of new partner Hilton Worldwide. Claiming this prize, Singapore-based Riverkids project From ‘Ait Chai’ Collector to Fashion Designer’, provides counselling, healthcare and vocational training for Cambodian sex workers, so they can transition out of the sex industry, and run their own small business.

“Since all the contestants were of such high quality, it’s really validating to be awarded a prize. We know the effect our work is having on women in Cambodia and we’re extremely proud to have it recognised by the Project Inspire judges. The prize allows us to support more vulnerable young women to learn livelihood skills and build up their self esteem so that they can believe in themselves again” said Sara Gingold who represented Riverkids at the event.

Additionally, the Sinag Store Project by Sinag Microfunds, Inc. co-founded by Sheena Rose Jamora from the Philippines was named the winner of the Project Inspire People’s Choice Award, having garnered the largest share of public votes during the three-week voting period. Through the Sinag Store Project, financially disadvantaged girl students will gain marketable design skills and experience first-hand how to use those skills to launch a social enterprise project.

The event, which was held at INSEAD, also saw the attendance of close to 200 participants from the general public and over 350 views via live-stream.

This year’s judges included:

  • Professor Jasjit Singh, Judging Panel Lead, Associate Professor of Strategy, INSEAD
  • Patricia Devereux, Group Head and Senior Vice President, Corporate Philanthropy and Citizenship, MasterCard
  • Laurence Lien, Chairman, Lien Foundation, Nominated Member of Parliament, Singapore& 2010 Eisenhower Fellow
  • Edmund Lin, Partner and Director, Global Head of Financial Services,  Bain & Company
  • Karen Loon, Assurance Partner, PwC Singapore, Board Member, Singapore Committee for UN Women
  • T.V. Seshadri, Group Executive, Global Products & Solutions, Asia/Pacific, MasterCard
  • Brendan Toomey, Vice President, Human Resources Asia Pacific, Hilton Worldwide
WHAT: Launched in 2011, Project Inspire: 5 Minutes to Change the World presents 18-35 year olds with a 5-minute platform to pitch their inspired idea to the world and win a US$25,000 grant.The grant is to be used to support an existing women’s empowerment program aimed at helping women and girls in Asia/Pacific, the Middle East or Africa attain sustained livelihood through business and livelihood skills.Project Inspire: 5 Minutes to Change the World is a joint initiative from the Singapore Committee for UN Women and MasterCard, to help young change-makers create a better world for women and girls in Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa. The competition is jointly organised by Singapore Committee for UN Women and MasterCard, with the support of venue host and knowledge partner, INSEAD as well as strategic partner Bain & Company. Supporting partner Hilton Worldwide joins Project Inspire for 2014.
WINNERS:            GRAND PRIZE – US$25,000 GRANT

Project: Supporting Disadvantaged Young Women through Vocational Training and Job Placement Program

Location: Vietnam

Aim: Transform the lives of disadvantaged women in Vietnam via a range of skills training (from web design to hairdressing), plus job placement and follow-up support.

Team leader: Pham Thi Ngoc Mai

Organisation: REACH

PROJECT INSPIRE RUNNER-UP – US$10,000 GRANT

Project: From ‘Ait Chai’ Collector to Fashion Designer
Location: Cambodia and Singapore
Aim: Provide counselling, healthcare and vocational training for Cambodian sex workers, so they can transition out of the sex industry, and run their own small business.
Team leader: Sara Gingold
Organisation: Riverkids

THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD
Project: The Sinag Store Project
Location: Caloocan, Philippines
Aim: Through the Sinag Store Project, financially disadvantaged girl students will gain marketable design skills and experience first-hand how to use those skills to launch a social enterprise project.
Team leader: Sheena Rose Jamora
Organisation: Sinag Microfunds, Inc.

Note to editors: For profiles of the ten Project Inspire finalists and to learn more about the Project Inspire judging panel, visit www.projinspire.com

CONTACT:  For media enquiries: media@5minutestochangetheworld.org

For general enquiries: contact@5minutestochangetheworld.org

 

PI6