One of the most successful social entrepreneurs in Malaysia, educational revolutionist and social activist, Teacher Raj Ridvan Singh began his career amid the social and financial poverty of Cambodia in the late 90’s. As a 14-year old, Teacher Raj experienced sacrifice, selling his material possessions as he co-founded an NGO, SOLS 24/7 Cambodia, to provide free education and personal development to Cambodian youth. By the age of 17 and becoming the youngest Microsoft Computer System Engineer in ASEAN, Teacher Raj once again faced the choice of continuing his successful career in Malaysia or sacrificing financial comfort for the life of a social worker.
With spirituality and a strong social activist background governing his decision, Teacher Raj left the comforts of Malaysia and returned to Cambodia, before heading to Timor Leste during a time of civil war to found and run SOLS 24/7 Timor Leste. His innate business skills and continuous activism guided him through the challenges of setting up and running an education based NGO, helping it grow to become the largest non-formal education provider in the country.
After returning to Malaysia, and now with more than 20 years in the social service sector, Teacher Raj started tax-exempted, humanitarian organization, SOLS 24/7 Foundation and began tapping into his entrepreneurial strengths to pioneer the concept of blending the worlds of social service (NGO) and entrepreneurship. 400,000+ individuals have benefitted from SOLS 24/7’s programmes and projects and it has grown into one of the leading and most innovative NGOs in Malaysia.
In 2010, he set up SOLS Social Enterprises, from start-up stage to a multi-million Ringgit organization within nine months. SOLS Social Enterprises focuses on four sectors, Education, Technology, Mental Health and Renewable Energy, all which play a crucial role enhancing the quality of life of people transcending race, gender, culture and age.
Most recently, Teacher Raj was elected President of TeAM (Technopreneurs Association of Malaysia) in 2019.
Notable work experiences:
- More than 19 years experience of setting up and running grass root NGO and social entrepreneur activities.
- Founded SOLS 24/7 Timor Leste in November 2006 and SOLS 24/7 Foundation in November 2007.
- Currently serving as CEO of SOLS 24/7 and SOLS Social Enterprises.
- SOLS 24/7 is a tax exempt foundation with 11 programmes nationwide.
- SOLS Social Enterprises runs businesses that address health, energy, technology and education. Uses social enterprise model applying commercial business strategies to maximise improvements in human and environmental well-being.
- Initiator and CEO of SOLS SMART, the corporate arm of SOLS 24/7. SOLS SMART provides scholarship implementation and management to corporations and foundations as well as corporate training to corporations and government agencies.
- 80% of all profits is channeled to SOLS 24/7. Within 3 months and an RM 10,000 startup, he turned it into a multi million dollar enterprise and it is ever expanding.
- Initiator and CEO of SOLS Tech. The technology arm of SOLS 24/7. “Technology and solutions for the poor” Thus enabling thousands of underserved individuals access and ownership of computers and technology.
- Initiator and CEO of ngohub.asia. ‘The NGO Hub’ A first of its kind online platform in Asia. ngohub.asia
- Connects volunteers with NGOs and causes
- Platform for NGOs and Community groups to apply for grants and crowd source in kind
- National NGO Database
- Promotion for events and programs of NGOs and similar activities
- Father of two children, whom he adores (though they barely let him sleep).
- Winner of the Best Sustainability Leader award, EU-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce & Industry (EUMCCI) 2018
- One of the Community Champions of the Astro Uruthunai Award 2018
- Social Entrepreneur of the Year, SME & Entrepreneurship Business Awards 2017.
- First Malaysian to be selected for the International Ford Motor Company Fellowship, Columbia University, New York.
- Speaker at the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Programme of Educational Innovations for Development (APEID) – 2016
- Awarded Golden Globe Tigers Summit NGO Leader Award – 2015.
- Finalist Commonwealth Youth Worker Award- 2014
- Awarded the YouthActionNet Award-2004 by International Youth Foundation.
- The Youth & ICT Award-2005 by Global Knowledge Partnership.
- Presented the Youth Social Enterprise Fellowship by YSEI in 2006.
- Winner of the KLue Blue Chilli Award Malaysia 2008.
- In 2009, he setup two state-of-the-art ICT Labs for the National University of Timor Leste, fully funded by USAID.
- Certified Microsoft Systems Engineer at the age of 17, youngest in ASEAN.
- Received a letter of praise and support from Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and President of Timor Leste, Dr Jose Ramos Horta for SOLS 24/7′s efforts in Timor Leste in July 2009.
- Represented ASEAN, Malaysia and Cambodia in several distinguished international conferences in Malaysia, Tunisia, Argentina, Sri Lanka, USA, Australia, Singapore, Thailand and Cambodia. Plenary speaker at several of these conferences presenting on youth related issues and sharing his work experience in implementing sustainable socio-economic development programs for poor urban and rural communities.