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How Many of Us Are Actually W.I.S.E.?

If “SE” refers to social enterprise, then what does "WISE" mean?

In the landscape of social entrepreneurship, it refers to “Work Integration Social Enterprise”. According to the Asia Centre for Social Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy, it is arguably the most recognised framework in which social enterprises adopt today. In an attempt to integrate and reintegrate groups of beneficiaries back into the workforce, the WISE model helps them overcome structural unemployment by providing training and educational opportunities. The root of its rationale likens itself to the well-known mantra: “give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish and you’ll feed him for life.”

Through WISE, communities of ex-offenders, persons with disabilities, elderly, youths-at-risk and single mothers get a chance to re-equip themselves with skills for the future workplace. In Singapore, many of us (social enterprises) are WISE, and they fall into this category of enacting change. They include Adrenalin Events and Education, Dignity Kitchen and Crossings Cafe.

Some argue that wisdom walks hand in hand with maturity, while others couple it with the accumulation of knowledge. Not only does the appropriately-termed W.I.S.E model foster a sustainable platform of opportunity, it is also a weighty tool of empowerment that allows dignified baby steps to be taken by individuals themselves.


Asia Centre for Social Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy. Landscape Of Social Enterprises In Singapore. Singapore: National University of Singapore, 2017. Print. Social Entrepreneurship In Asia: Working Paper No. 1


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