The outstanding individuals have created job opportunities for the underprivileged and youths

(Diageo Taiwan photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s domestic COVID-19 cases have increased at an alarming rate since mid-May and hurt commerce, so a fund for 11 social entrepreneurs that create job opportunities for the underprivileged and youths is a rare slice of good news.

Many businesses have been hurt by the effects of COVID-19 since it spread worldwide in early 2020. In Taiwan, food service providers saw an average reduction in income of 74 percent in May compared with April, and the hotel occupancy rate nosedived to less than 10 percent in June, according to a survey from iCHEF.

To lift spirits in troubling times, drinks giant Diageo Taiwan unveiled a list of winners on Thursday (June 17) who will receive funding for their non-profit businesses, education, protection of the environment, technological innovation, and art. The 11 Keep Walking Fund winners have empowered others during the pandemic.

Award recipient Lee Jung-chune (李榮春) was acknowledged for incorporating technology in the farming industry to improve the farming of Taiwan’s indigenous black pig. This has improved industry competitiveness, and created more jobs in rural areas.

Lai Chih-ming (賴志銘) and Lin Chia-chien (林佳箴), an e-commerce operator with a physical disability and a coffee store owner with visual impairment, created a working environment that empowered people with disabilities.

Three of the winners this year are previous award winners. Acclaimed Taiwanese choreographer, dancer, and inventor Huang Yi (黃翊) took home his second award after creating a job matching network for dancers and training programs for job seekers.

Chen Yu-da (陳宥達) and Chen Kei-hsiang (陳凱翔) — who won awards in 2015 — have helped tens of thousands of people across the country through their learning projects. Chen Yu-da promotes “parent-child book reading," which has benefited over 8,000 families.

This year the reading project was expanded to elderly people and is intended to combat the neurodegeneration that leads to Alzheimer’s disease through intensive reading practice. New technologies such as big data analytics and wearing devices are also adopted to boost effectiveness.

Chen Kei-hsiang, founder of One-Forty, has enabled more than 58,000 migrant workers to adapt to local culture faster with his culture and language online learning courses and videos. One-Forty also hosts events to increase understanding between migrant workers and employers, helping them integrate into local communities.

Atul Chhaparwal, managing director of Diageo Taiwan, said on Thursday (June 17) the company is looking forward to more social problem-solving solutions from impressive individuals working in the community, and sustaining economic growth during the pandemic.

“There will be a silver lining in the end," Chhaparwal said.



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