Sustainability  >  Championing Social Enterpreneurship  >  Walking the Talk

Walking the Talk

Our support of social enterprises is deeply rooted in our culture. Five years ago, we launched the DBS Social Enterprise Package in Singapore, the first and still the only banking package tailored to the needs of this unique sector. Our package offers social enterprises attractive benefits: there are no initial deposit or minimum monthly balance requirements, and we provide virtually free banking services. The scheme has been further enhanced with the addition of business loans at preferential rates, without any processing fees. We have launched similar packages for social enterprises in all our key markets.

At DBS, we are not just the bankers of choice for social enterprises; we are also their customers. We make it a point, where possible, to engage social enterprises as vendors to provide goods and services for corporate and department events at DBS. We have established a permanent Social Enterprise Exchange at our headquarters at DBS Asia Central, giving social enterprises the opportunity to showcase their goods, services and causes. By creating opportunities for DBS staff to interact with social enterprises, we aim to develop staff advocates who will make a real difference in this sector.

Corporate responsibility can achieve its intended goals only when an entire organisation embraces them. We try to make a difference in all possible ways to further the cause of social entrepreneurship.

DBS Social Enterprise Banking Package

We are the only bank in our three key Asian axes of growth – Southeast Asia, South Asia and Greater China – to offer social enterprises a dedicated banking package tailored to their needs.

First launched in Singapore in 2008, the Social Enterprise Banking package allows social enterprises to open corporate accounts with no minimum deposits and no minimum balance requirements. We also offer a range of additional benefits including free transaction services.

In 2012, we further enhanced the banking package in Singapore to include a preferentially-priced loan component. Now, social enterprises can enjoy a preferential rate of interest (fixed at 5% p.a.) on business loans with a waiver of processing fees.

In Singapore, we offer two types of loans to social enterprises.

  • The Micro-Loan Programme under the Local Enterprise Financing Scheme, in partnership with SPRING Singapore, offers loans of up to $100,000 for small and medium-sized enterprises with 10 or fewer employees or annual sales not exceeding $1 million.
  • We also offer unsecured business loans to social enterprises as part of the DBS Social Enterprise Package, at a preferential interest rate that is pegged at half the regular commercial rate. In addition, social enterprises can access DBS’ cash management solutions at preferential rates for their day-to-day banking transactions. In line with our commitment to support social enterprises, we also waive the processing fee for these loan applications.

SocialiSE: Engaging Employees Through Social Enterprise Activities

Our support for social enterprises is a significant part of our culture, and we strive to involve and educate staff on social entrepreneurship. To this end, we launched SocialiSE - a series of social enterprise-related events and activities that seeks to maximise staff engagement, as well as promote understanding and awareness of social enterprises.

Past SocialiSE events include coffee appreciation classes facilitated by Bettr Barista Coffee Academy, cajon performances by Beat-a-Box, and bazaars featuring a variety of social enterprises. We believe that through first-hand exposure to social enterprises, our staff can learn about their causes in an interesting and fun way.

All-round Support for Social Enterprises

We believe in helping social enterprises in as many ways as we can. We provide them with grants, preferential loans in Singapore, banking privileges, mentorship and coaching opportunities, and we also engage their services as vendors.

Richardo Chua, Managing Director of event management company Adrenalin Group, says his company has gained from our support: “We have benefited from DBS’s Social Enterprise Banking Package and set up our office with a DBS property loan. I’m also very happy that the bank has chosen to partner Adrenalin for some of their corporate events.

Thirty per cent of Adrenalin’s team members are youth at risk, hearing-impaired or individuals with physical disabilities. With help from a DBS grant, Adrenalin scaled up its capabilities with a new audio-visual arm, AVELaunch.

Another social enterprise we work with is Bizlink, a company which data-mines entry-level resumes and recruits primarily disadvantaged individuals as employees. We also engage Bizlink as a vendor for various initiatives, such as the preparation of Appreciation Day items, gift-packing and so on.

Says Alvin Lim, CEO of Bizlink centre: “DBS, which is at the forefront of promoting social entrepreneurship, supports Bizlink’s employment cause for the disadvantaged in Singapore. DBS’s grant to our new bakery will go a long way in setting up the foundation for us to create employment for our disadvantaged workforce.