IMPACT 0510: TECHNOLOGY FOR THE SAKE OF COMMUNITY
Youth Action Challenge (YAC) is a platform for youth to provide solutions that tackle the issues we are concerned about. Since October 2021, over 80 teams and more than 310 youths have undertaken the YAC Season 3 journey.
Jedaiah, 26, is the founder and CEO of I’m Friendly Co and an NUS Business School undergraduate. At I’m Friendly Co, they are creating a world where those hurt are heard, by leveraging technology and community to bridge the prevailing youth mental health treatment gap. Today he shares more about the project!
What was your role within your YAC project?
I was the team lead for the YAC project and guided the team through the various stages of concept development, and eventually the angle of approach for the final pitch. I facilitated constructive discussions and maintained a macro view during decision making.
What motivated you to join YAC?
We saw YAC as an opportunity that would grant I’m Friendly Co the resources it needed to take off, both financially, through the potential funding we could receive, and the community of mentors we could tap on.
Can you share with us your experience with your YAC project?
As a whole, the YAC journey was a rewarding one, as we met many passionate and like-minded individuals with similar goals, and it was certainly reassuring to know that we are not fighting this battle alone. We also met with incredible mentors who have been instrumental in our growth, and whom we are still keeping in contact with.
What are some challenges you faced while working on your YAC project?
I think one of the biggest challenges the team faced was setting aside time for the various YAC workshops and events. Being full-time university students, it was particularly challenging to strike a balance and create time to undergo the whole YAC process.
Could you share more on how your project has a positive impact?
In June of 2021, we launched our beta platform on Telegram to gather feedback and to understand the demand for an anonymous text-based youth mental health platform. Over a 6-month testing phase, we received the support of over 9,000 minutes of active conversations (across 232 conversations) and many promising testimonials from users who had benefited from speaking to our Listener Community.
On March 12, 2022, we had our launch event to commemorate the release of our long anticipated web application, and have been onboarding new users. This new platform includes additional features based on the feedback we’ve received, such as in-built journaling and access to professional counselling.
Were there any key takeaways or learning points from your time with YAC?
I think a key takeaway from our YAC experience was to dream bigger and to be bold to execute. Seeing all the various pitches during the open mic session, I could see such a range of ideas. From teams with just a concept they wanted to test, to companies looking to expand to multiple countries, I’m Friendly Co stood right in the middle. During the session, I realised how far we’ve come, and at the same time, caught a glimpse of what our future holds—that is something I’m holding onto: a vision of what I’m Friendly Co will one day be.