skillseed is the child of educators frustrated by the status quo of school service projects under-utilising the potential of skilled youth, and undermining sustainable change in host communities.
At Skillseed, we believe that we are either part of the solution, or contributing to the problem. We choose the former.
Solving multi-faceted, complex problems requires collaboration and serving as an effective platform for change.
More importantly, it means working with youth, to help solve problems today, so that they won’t have to face it tomorrow. Because if we omit involving the next generation in the solution, it will neither be sustained, nor will there be a future to consider.
We are on a mission to help 10,000 youths match passion to potential, discover purpose and become change-catalysts through our experiential learning courses for social impact, by 2030.
the skillseed story
Learning from Experts
Skillseed’s roots trace back to a once empty, light-filled space at Kroon Hall of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. On her first day in the United States, a starving Singaporean female graduate student searched desperately for a canteen or a café in her graduate school - only to find a vending machine.
Annoyed, she wrote a proposal for an environmentally and socially conscious café at a beautiful spot at Kroon Hall. However, the Dean of the school very kindly reviewed it but pointed out that she: 1) Had no prior experience running a café 2) Was an international student and this was her first time in the States, and and 3) Had no background in business at all!
Not giving up, she rewrote the proposal and approached the dean again, who told her that he would approve the proposal if she could find other students to join her and an expert advisor from the Yale School of Management (SOM) to guide her. At that time, she knew no one, yet at the end of two weeks, she managed to gather a team of 6 Masters students and a lecturer in Entrepreneurship from Yale SOM to embark on this crazy endeavour. With guidance from these experts and peers, she proceeded to live her dream through real-world learning.
Live your Dream
They soon found themselves simulating a café from scratch to prove that the model worked – the group composted the coffee grounds, sold only locally-sourced goods and fair trade coffee, and even learned to be baristas! The café also served as a platform to showcase the wonderful social and environmental initiatives that their peers were doing (fair trade chocolate, an environmental film festival etc.). This was in addition to their full-time studies and the founder’s part-time job at the financial aid office. But it was an incredible, hands-on experience and imparted the founder many real-world skills that still serve her well today.
Leave a Legacy
Many years later, the once empty space is now better known as BYO café, run by students passionate about good coffee, great food, and most of all, making a social impact, as it sustains itself as a small institution that supports social and environmental initiatives while providing for needy students.
This experience is proof that a single person with a good idea, the help of others, role models, courage and humility, can help to transform a community, one project at a time.
Skillseed was born out of the power of this experience and learning framework. This means carving out a safe space to generate opportunities, to provide exposure and challenge individuals to dream big, and empower them with the tools to make the changes they want to see, regardless of where in the world they find themselves, and how daunting the environment may be.