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DBS Foundation is committed to provide holistic support to social enterprises and to do this well, a good understanding of the sector, and its ecosystem is vital. We have worked with various partners to understand challenges, research opportunities and present our programmes to ramp up the capabilities of social enterprises.

In this section, we include reports on research we initiated and supported to better understand the challenges in the social enterprise sector. We also have reports on our signature programmes and events as well as toolkits and guides that we helped develop in the recent years.

  • Events
  • Research
  • Toolkits

DBS Foundation SE Summit 2016: Hard Truths and Honest Conversations:

DBS Foundation held the inaugural Social Enterprise (SE) Summit “Hard Truths & Honest Conversations: Towards Real Impact” in Singapore on 16 and 17 June, 2016. Over 200 participants comprising leading social entrepreneurs, incubators and capacity-builders from across the region gathered to discuss the realities and challenges of running an SE, including the areas of funding, operations and management.

Download the report that captures the reflections and insights shared at the Summit.

DBS-NUS Social Venture Challenge

The DBS-NUS Social Venture Challenge Asia (SVC Asia) is a business plan challenge that identifies and supports new social ventures that demonstrate positive, scalable and sustainable social impact within the region. Organised by DBS Foundation and NUS Enterprise, SVC Asia is fast becoming a powerful platform to identify and nurture up and coming social enterprises from the region. The programme has witnessed many entrepreneurs who not only are passionate about addressing social issues – but who are also innovative and savvy with the use of technology. In addition to the prize monies, DBS Foundation is building a holistic support ecosystem for budding social enterprises by providing mentorship, networking, access to marketplace and impact funding.

Programme reports are available here:

Social Financing Innovation

DBS Foundation commissioned Eden Strategy Institute on this research to gain the first insight into Asia’s current social financing landscape. Based on the unique characteristics of the social financing sector and the existing business realities faced by both capital providers and social enterprises, this report provides the context for potential ways to innovate Social Financing. The report has some strategic recommendations for the sector to re-examine current approaches to financing social enterprises, beginning roadmaps to develop meaningful financing mechanisms, and sustainable partnerships amongst relevant stakeholders to support social enterprises to success.

While the report is an IP of the DBS Foundation, an abstract is available for your read.

Effective Social Incubation - First Insights from Asia

DBS Foundation has partnered with AVPN (Asia Venture Philanthropy Network) to conduct a qualitative study on the success factors and effectiveness of 15 social incubators in Asia. Covering incubators in Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, China, Taiwan, India, Hong Kong and Singapore, this research paper is the first of its kind from Asia and takes learnings from global studies already conducted, like the Global Accelerator Learning Initiative from Emory University and the Aspen Network of Development Enterprises in the US. This research provides a baseline for comparison of the researched incubators (covering Greenfield start-ups, Brownfield - NGOs converting to SEs etc) to measure how well they are in what they do.

Please download the abstract of the report here.
Complete report can be read here.

Greater China Social Enterprise Ecosystem Survey and Study

This DBS Foundation supported research conducted by China Social Enterprise Research Centre (SERC) covers a survey of 300 SEs in Greater China (China, Hong Kong and Taiwan). The research provides the first quantitative view of social enterprise landscape in Greater China.  Along with interviews of the sector’s capacity builders and funders and nine case studies of social enterprises picked from different industries and different stages of growth, it presents a first-hand opportunity to understand social enterprises’ needs and challenges in Greater China region.

While the data collection has been completed, the comprehensive final report with in-depth insights and recommendations will be made available soon.

Handbook for Social Enterprises in Indonesia

DBS Foundation partnered UKM Center Universitas Indonesia (Center of Small Medium Enterprises, Universitas Indonesia) to develop a handbook on Social Entrepreneurship that covers useful information and practical guidance for those who are interested in starting their enterprise and address social concerns in Indonesia. The handbook was made possible through a series of discussions and interviews with the Social Entrepreneurship players (entrepreneurs, incubators, etc.) across the country. Through this book, we aim to not only enlighten the readers with the concept, but also to encourage those with the calling to make a difference to use the necessary know-how to initiate their social start-ups.

The handbook (currently available in Bahasa) can be downloaded here.

LegalSE - SE Legal Toolkit (2015 Version)

With support from DBS, Law Society of Singapore officially launched the first edition of 'LegaleSE', in December 2013, with the aim of providing aspiring or experienced social entrepreneurs with legal information that is required to run a business with a cause in Singapore. Since then, the content has been revised and expanded to cover charities and non-profit organisations as well. The revised edition with the support of DBS Foundation has been launched in 2016 and this legal toolkit provides essential legal information relevant to running a business with a cause in Singapore and covers a wide range of topics, including: Starting Up, Operations, Expansion and Winding Down. With the coverage of essential legal topics, this publication is a useful resource for social enterprises to enable them as the innovate, grow and scale in compliance with the law.

Download a copy of the LegaleSE here.