Empowering Youth To Give Back

Meet Joe Tan

Corporate Volunteer, Love Action Project 
NFTE Business Speaker & Judge

The founder of social enterprise Love Action Project, Joe’s passion for empowering youths to create change is driven by his desire to give back to the community, and to broaden the horizons of young people through his work with the NFTE programme. Below, he shares his experience with helping youth, and the lessons he’s learned from volunteering.

Joe Tan, Corporate Volunteer

The drive to pay it forward is what inspires Joe Tan’s work with youth development.

“In my journey growing up, I’ve met and observed many individuals who not only gave me the chance to learn when I made mistakes, but also allowed me to mirror their good qualities,” he recalls. “When I was given the opportunity to do so, it was a natural decision for me to step up and do the same.”

With a passion for helping youth, his journey as a volunteer has been an eventful one, beginning in 2013 when he founded social enterprise Love Action Project. He sought to empower youths to create social impact by leveraging their strengths, with the additional goal of curating events that were beneficial to the causes and charities he was working with.

Aside from providing more opportunities to interact with youths, his time in the youth development space has enabled him to communicate with and manage the youths he works with more effectively. “From understanding their mentality, to managing their expectations and fulfilling their aspirations, I am now able to better motivate my team to perform optimally by addressing their respective needs,” he explains.

Building entrepreneurial skills

As a business speaker and judge for the NFTE programme, he is impressed by the students he encountered through NFTE: “I was blown away by the creativity and determination of the students,” shares Joe. “At their age, it takes a lot for them to think about not just a business idea but also how to market, sustain and grow the idea. It’s all work in progress, but a great head start for all of them for sure.”

Helping students such as Kei Win, the Global Youth Entrepreneur 2021 winner, brings great satisfaction to Joe. “Kei Win’s unassuming and down-to-earth personality was a winner in itself when I first met him,” he reflects, adding that he advised Kei Win to always be himself throughout the pitching process, and to keep his jovial persona. “I think the key to all competition is experience. Kei Win understood that, which is what made him enjoy the journey we had together.”

He also appreciates students’ interest in the business insights he shares, and is driven by the chance to broaden students’ perspectives on leadership, as he did not have the same opportunity when he was younger. “When I was in their shoes many years ago, there wasn’t someone who came and spoke to us about entrepreneurship,” he says. “I reckon if that had happened back then, I might have embarked on this journey earlier!”

Deepening his connection with youths

Working with youths has lent him greater insight into their mindsets, as he believes that youths of the present are more well-informed, sharper, and less patient with inefficiency, due to the availability of information and technology. This has informed his approach to interacting with youths. “I find that the best way to engage the youths today is to be genuine, honest and authentic,” shares Joe. “Youths appreciate humility in our sharing and approach to mentoring, or even storytelling… They warm up pretty quickly once they realise that you bring value to them, or that you are someone whom they feel they can relate to.”

Feeling inspired to guide youths to leverage their strengths, and develop the skills they need? Join us and take the next step to supporting a community of changemakers here!