For our full-time Bachelor of Science in Supply Chain Management student, Lee Ming Han, his aspirations to start up his own social enterprise motivated him to take on the Community Engaged Work (CEW) through an internship with social enterprise, Wateroam. He documents his experience at the start-up which aims to provide clean water access to all individuals in the interview below.
CEW aims to provide opportunities for SUSS students to undertake full-time or part-time work with a social service agency, social enterprise or certified B Corporation organisation locally or overseas.
Ming Han: Working in a startup is fast-paced as it requires me to be knowledgeable in multiple domains and wear many caps at once. This is even more so for a social enterprise that has to account for their beneficiaries and the social impact that has been created. The dynamic nature is really fun and exciting for me.
I was inspired by what I can learn at a social enterprise and my internship at Wateroam gave me an in-depth, first hand understanding of social entrepreneurship and showed me how business can be used as a force for good.
I was particularly inspired by Wateroam’s mission: “To improve the life, living and livelihood of every individual globally through clean water access.” This mission resonated deeply within me, which made me decide to continue my internship at Wateroam even after I joined SUSS and took it up as my CEW to further contribute, explore and achieve my aspiration of managing my own social enterprise.
As part of Ming Han’s internship with Wateroam, he was deployed to lead a water consultation project in the Philippines.
Ming Han: Interning in a social enterprise based in Singapore while answering the water needs of those in rural areas made me realise some of the challenges faced by the locals, such as geographical, cultural and habitual constraints. Many of the communities we spoke with drank rain water growing up and they used traditional sand water filters that were installed many years ago.
This internship at Wateroam gave me the opportunity to gain on-the-ground experience by leading a water consultation project. I had the opportunity to travel to the rural areas of Sarangani, Philippines and spoke with the locals to better understand their demographics, health situation, and water usage habits.Developing an efficient infrastructure is no easy task and cultural habits are deeply entrenched amongst the villagers, making it especially hard to change their mindsets since the people have been drinking from the same water source their whole lives.
From the trip, I used the data to produce a detailed report that indicated the feasibility of setting up a sustainable clean drinking water intervention across a 30km radius in the rural regions of Sarangani.
Ming Han conducting water testing in the Philippines.
Ming Han: A typical day in the office starts with checking my emails to see if there are any customers contacting us. As a sales and marketing intern, I assist the sales and marketing department in the development of advertising, public relations, and marketing communication matters.
I help to set up sales meetings, showcase our product, and manage our customers and any media queries via Wateroam’s support email.
I also help our sales operation department with sales fulfilment and improve existing logistics SOPs to improve sales processes.
Ming Han: Joining Wateroam as an undergraduate, I knew there were many areas that I might not have experience in, such as sales, marketing and management of sales channels etc. This internship exposed me to different aspects of a business, ranging from sales and marketing to operational and even live deployment. I’m thankful that I met many wonderful mentors and team members in the Wateroam family that supported and guided me through the various challenges I faced in Wateroam.
Wateroam gave me numerous opportunities to learn and overcoming the challenges I faced was an enriching and valuable experience. This internship was an eye-opening experience that left a great impact in my life.