Arthur Guinness Fund Hackathon

With over 150 people attending the UP Singapore and Arthur Guinness Fund hackathon the participants contributed over 3000 hours of work. This amazing effort led to eleven teams presenting eleven amazing ideas at the conclusion of the weekend.  All of the teams came up with very creative ways to help single moms and ex-offenders.

Design UP and Pet Rangers were shortlisted for their innovation and ability to meet the needs of marginalised women in Singapore. They stand to share in the $60,000 investment from the Arthur Guinness Fund.

About the Arthur Guinness Fund

The Arthur Guinness Fund (AGF) is an innovative investment fund set up in 2009 and is dedicated to providing financial assistance to social enterprises around the world. 2012 is their first year in Singapore and they are partnering with UP to leverage our unique model and our passionate community to affect real social change. The UP team has identified local business Bettr Barista as the first social enterprise to receive funding from AGF. A donation of up to S$30,000 be used to help them develop their business.

On top of this donation, they have also allotted up to $60,000 in investment to support the best ideas generated at our hackathon weekend. This money will be awarded after the hackathon to teams with the most innovative and (most importantly) viable ideas. Teams will are encouraged to work with an existing social enterprise to put these ideas into effect, although completely new start up businesses will also be considered.



The broad theme of the event is empowering marginalised women through social enterprise.

We are focusing on social enterprise over charity, because, if successful, the business is able to sustain itself and continually help people without having to rely on handouts. The Arthur Guinness Fund only invests in social enterprises which it believes to be sustainable, and the investments it makes are seed capital to allow the business to move forward or expand.

Our two groups of focus are single mothers and female ex-offenders. These groups may not receive as much support as they need from various areas of society. How can we give them a helping hand to earn a fair wage and support themselves and their families?

Have a look at our challenge inspirations to get the ball rolling. These ideas are available for any hackathon participant to use, adapt or build on for the weekend.

Lack of affordable childcare options – Childcare is expensive and can often prevent single mothers from maintaining full-time jobs. Lack of Relevant Skills or Education – Younger single mothers in particular, may not have had the opportunity to complete their education. Obtaining new skills can be difficult because the mother’s time is so constrained due to the family’s dependence on her sole income. Difficulty finding a well paying job – Many single mothers may not have previously been in the workforce, or have taken a long break. Finding part time work, or working from home can be difficult. Lack of Confidence – These women may feel that employers, and society in general, can discriminate against single mothers. Lack of education or job experience also causes these women to have low levels of confidence. Lack of Support – Due to breakdown of family network, these women may not have familial support to rely on (emotional or financial). Due to their time constraints (always working or caring for their children) they have little time to explore social support networks. Lack of Relevant Skills or Education – Due to their previous lifestyle or prison sentence, the women may not have been able to complete their education. Training opportunities while in incarceration are limited. Lack of confidence in availability of opportunities post-training may discourage ex-offenders from engaging in such training programmes. Because they cannot earn money while they train, people are discouraged from taking part in training. Difficulty finding a well-paying job – Experience and education levels may be low because of their previous lifestyles and/or prison sentence. They may not know how to go about finding a job that will accept an ex-offender. Many employers will not trust an ex-offender in their workplace. Lack of Confidence – Being labelled as an ex-offender by the system causes social stigma. Lack of confidence in conventional employment- due to past experiences (e.g. illegal income mechanisms). Being in prison may have caused damage to self-esteem. Fear of the consequences associated with reoffending- this leads to hopelessness. Lack of Support – Their families and friends may have abandoned them due to their incarceration. Unstable support network prior to incarceration – this may have been a contributing factor to the original offence. Facing Prejudice – Employers are often unwilling or unable, by law, to accept candidates with criminal records. Prejudice inflicted on an ex-offender may discourage them from exploring training or job opportunities. It is challenging for ex-offenders to reintegrate with society at large. Solutions to these problems could be based around: • Business Plans • Ideas for additions to existing businesses • Applications • Websites/Portals/Community networks • Community services

Try to be realistic about what can be achieved through social enterprise.


  • Kwong Weng Yap, Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and the Secretary-General of the United Nations Association of Singapore
  • Mimmie Ong, Regional Head of Sales, SEA at Vdopia Inc.
  • Jason Aspes, Partner, Newton Circus
  • Pamela Chng, Founder, Bettr Barista
  • Gary Luton, Vice President, Customers for Life,
  • Daryl Arnold, CEO Newton Circus
  • Ciaran Lyons, Partner Newton Circus
  • ShiQi Wu, Strategic Partner Manager, Southeast Asia at Google
  • Mimmie Ong, Regional Head of Sales, SEA at Vdopia Inc.
  • Sidonie Viaud, Sales Operations and Strategy- APAC, Google
  • Kristin Ocampo, Director of Corporate & Curriculum Development- Girls in Tech
  • Ling Fu, Founder at
  • Zubi Khawaja, CEO Atlantis City Holdings Pte Ltd
  • Eddy Chan, Chief Technology Officer, OgilvyOne Worldwide Singapore
  • Graham Villiers-Tuthill, Guinness Marketing Manager, Singapore
  • Douglas Abrams, NUS Business School Professor and Founder Expara (Singapore Government Backed Incubator)
  • Georgie Passalaris, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Diageo
  • Jacqui Brabazon, Managing Director, Head of Asia Marketing, Private Banking, J.P. Morgan
  • iobhan Hamilton, General Manager Diageo Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines



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