Meet our Change Makers
DBS Foundation Social Enterprise Grant Programme 2017 Awardees
DBS Foundation Social Enterprise Grant Programme 2017 Awardees
With the Social Enterprise Grant Programme, DBS Foundation is happy to encourage innovation by social enterprises to meet complex social needs, such as access to health and health education, employment generation for marginalised, environment protection and waste management solutions, responsible education and literacy, creating rural livelihoods, innovative technologies for social impact and much more.
The Grant Programme enables social enterprises to develop their prototype into a working model, improve existing processes or add critical capabilities to achieve sustainability, or scale up their existing business that leads to greater social impact. Grant awardees join an esteemed community of social enterprises whom DBS Foundation supports to ignite possibilities for a truly inclusive Asia.
We congratulate the 2017 Awardees of DBS Foundation Social Enterprise Grant Programme! Learn more about them below:
Realise a better world
Agriforward helps upcycle agricultural waste and organic waste from biogas power generators and water treatment plants into organic fertilizer. They create a win-win situation for agri community and the government in reducing carbon emissions and promote sustainable green development. Their goal is to establish "electricity-generating composting areas" and in the future through Internet of Things (IoT) develop non-pesticide cultivation management techniques for clean, good-value food and comprehensively add value to agriculture. The grant will be used for team expansion, research & development on IoT based smart farming management.
Detergents from nature
Social innovation from HarvestWild Organic Solutions has helped convert a neglected agricultural produce into a value-added product. During the lean agriculture season, they encourage farmers in remote areas to collect soap nuts from surrounding forest areas and convert the nuts into liquid laundry and dish washing detergents. Farmers’ income is supplemented and eco-friendly organic detergents are made available in the market. BubbleNut Wash from this social enterprise provides a natural alternative that can replace chemical-intensive products from consumers’ lifestyle. The grant will be used for setting up a solvent extraction unit thereby improving product offering and production capacity as well as for expansion of company team.
Bridging society through Communication
CaptionCube hires PwDs as transcribers for video captioning services provided by the clients, media companies or e-learning providers. They create opportunities for inclusive employment, upgrade capabilities of PwDs and empower them with income, sense of belonging and self-worth. From 20 video hours per month they envisage a growth of 200 video hours per month and growing their impact to engage 12 PwDs in 2018. The grant will be used to accelerate tech development to improve UX and capacity of their platform.
Production and distribution of wicker products made by rural women.
Women in rural Indonesia have wicker weaving skills as a part of their tradition but lack design direction and market access. Du’anyam has been able to bridge these gaps for the women artisans while also providing them with year-round financial access to health services and improved nutrition. DuAnyam.com – online wholesale craft platform has been created with a vision to become the first and largest online wholesale crafts with a social cause. Currently Du’anyam has empowered 400 women and by 2020 they hope to impact 2000 women artisans. The grant will be used to expand and streamline their production and increase sales via online wholesale platform.
With us, going green is easy
Eco-Greenergy is a social enterprise embracing simple, practical and sustainable solutions such as food waste recycling machines to education programs. Eco-Greenergy’s Zero Grounds Coffee Campaign upcycles used coffee grounds from cafes and commercial offices into compostable products such as soap, fertilizer and flower pots. 5% of the campaign profit is donated to food waste related research teams in Hong Kong as a support to the long-term industry development. The grant will be used to set up of a production and activity facility in Hong Kong and to develop new products such as compostable cutlery from coffee grounds.
Enabling Citizen farms - the Future of Urban Farming
Edible Garden City champions the ‘grow-your-own-food’ movement and reduces food waste by incorporating natural systems with technology such as hydroponics, aquaponics and insect farming. This social enterprise builds and maintains edible gardens for hotels, schools, restaurants, commercial buildings and private clients. Their goal is to help cities become more self-sufficient by growing food in underutilised spaces like rooftops, under viaducts, and everywhere in between. The grant will be used for the development and scaling up of microgreens and mushroom production, and for the development of closed-loop agriculture systems.
Making a real connection – Online to Offline
Fantastic Dream connects with popular Youtubers and KOLs in Hong Kong with organisations to tailor make recruitment programmes with positive influence to inspire youth. The social enterprise educates teenagers on career opportunities and helps provide internships and job posts. In addition, their career education content and youth internship programmes via Youtube have been encouraging on viewership. The grant will be used to develop new content and youth engagement initiatives.
Fresh milk made possible
Pure Milk is enriching the Taiwan dairy industry by selling safe milk bought at fair trade prices, from small scale farms. Each bottle is of milk is processed under excellent conditions and labeled with the source information so consumers know which farm, the milk came from. Pure Milk also supports the training for vets to become knowledgeable cattle vets thereby boosting the industry further. They cooperate with other social enterprises in Taiwan on logistics fulfilment and delivery services. The grant will help in strengthening their branding, establishing SOPs, data management systems and market intelligence on dairy products and logistics as well as building equipment in cold chain logistics.
Partnering with nature
In partnership with nature, Justwin makes agriculture healthier, safer and more productive. Through eco-friendly pest control services, they help farmers improve their production while also providing safer conditions for bees to produce honey. With exclusive greenhouse bee rearing technologies, they work towards increasing healthy bee population and in turn supporting farmers break into the virtuous cycle of sustainable farming. The grant will be used to increase production capacity, build awareness on importance of bees to environment and food security.
Technology Solutions for Small farmers
Kheyti helps smallholder farmers increase their yield and predictability of produce. Their social innovation - the “Greenhouse-in-a-Box” (GIB), is a low-cost, modular greenhouse bundled with end-to-end services. Specially designed, the greenhouse fits in very small areas, protects crops from environmental risks and helps farmers grow 7 times more food using 90% less water. Apart from providing technology, Kheyti works with partners to extend farmer financing, input linkages, ongoing production advice as well as market linkages, creating a seamless path towards assured supplemental incomes of $100/month. The grant will be used to drive the product to full scale commercial launch.
Warm service from Cloud Matching
A transport company in Taiwan found that 59% of its capacity was being lost when delivery trucks returned empty from destinations. They found that they could bridge the problem by optimising travel routes to collect and deliver donated goods to needy families on the return legs. This is efficiently accomplished by matching needs of families with available goods through their online platform. With 30 trucks they have donated about 1883 items and assisting 360 families every year. The grant will be used for enhancing cloud based intelligent container warehousing and expanding the business operations network to increase employment opportunities and impact.
Better Agriculture, better Life
Pandawa Agri Indonesia (PAI) offers various research-based products & services to support sustainable agricultural practice in Indonesia. Focused on reducing synthetic input by 50%, they have developed eco-friendly and innovative products such as Weed Solution and Pest Solution which offer 30% cost savings to farmers. Their fungicide product is also getting ready for launch. Team PAI work alongside farmers educating them on the negative effects of high pesticide application. The social enterprise also trains young people as “Agriculture Ambassadors” to inculcate appreciation in youngsters for this area. The grant will be used to set up a new production facility increasing their capacity to meet market demand.
Guiding youth to achieve dream careers
Tomoroe’s online platform connects students in remote areas of China with outstanding professionals from all walks of life. These connections, career stories and inspirations help youth make informed decisions on their careers. The social enterprises places effort in selecting and recruiting volunteers who share their career stories through video, voice, text through WeChat and other media platforms for widespread dissemination. Tomoroe is working towards being that vital bridge between secondary students in China and the professional world. The grant will be used to strengthen the online platform, recruit quality guest speakers and reach out to at least 2,500 rural secondary students.
Environmental sustainability by tackling food wastage
UglyGood aims to reduce organic by-product wastage generated within the Food and Beverage (F&B) industry through upcycling and building innovative business models around wastage. They are currently testing the concept by focusing on the juice industry, upcycling fruit juice pulp and peel wastage into animal feed and other products. Utilising biochemical technology to process by-product wastage, they turn them into valuable products such as organic eco-friendly detergents or essential oils currently used in beauty and skin care products. The grant will be used for accelerating their product research and stepping up marketing.
Helping deaf children be heard
Ci Shi Shi Ji Beijing has developed a scientifically proven speech rehabilitation training for young deaf children leveraging technology and education. By intervening at a young age, their rehabilitation therapy helps deaf children learn language expression abilities that are crucial to return to school and integrate into society. The social enterprise has partnered with rehabilitation institutions in China to reach more children in need. The DBS Foundation Grant will be used for their platform upgrade and strengthening curriculum design.
Let's make giving social, today
Givo makes 'giving' a virtuous cycle by allowing users create customised newsfeeds for causes and topics they care about. This mobile app connects with social media so friends and followers of donors can be inspired too. Charities on the other hand can improve their transparency and make use of the simple to use, informative platform to engage better with their donors. The DBS Foundation grant will be used to recruit marketing staff, organise campaigns and events to publicise Givo and raise funds for doing good.
Crowdfunding for social good
A suite of products and services that support social impact organisations to increase donations and reduce fund raising costs while improving their communication with their constituents and improving operational efficiency. On its mission to democratise giving, GIVE.asia also offers white label platforms for charities and companies; simplifies & optimises mobile conversions, as well as leverages data to drive more engagement. The DBS Foundation grant will be used to expand its services in Hong Kong and further develop its while labelled service offering.
Every foot covered and protected
GreenSole is manufacturing low cost footwear that is made from discarded shoes, saving on carbon emissions by recycling while providing employment opportunities to marginalised communities in India. The refurbished shoes are of good quality and used by the rural poor saving them from diseases due to unprotected feet. Greensole has two industrial design patents for converting used shoes into comfortable slippers. The DBS Foundation’s grant will be used for strengthening collection drives of used shoes, conduct workshops for local manufacturing and employing people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Giving social work a social edge
A peer to peer marketplace that uses mobile technology to efficiently manage the relationships between paid care-workers to primary caregivers and their loved seniors. The platform uses proprietary matching engine to pair seniors with best healthcare professionals. This solution helps seniors age with dignity, unburdens family caregivers, turns compassionate people with care-giving experience into micro-entrepreneurs, providing them with an opportunity to earn. The DBS Foundation’s grant will be used for strengthening their hardware, software of the mobile platform while also getting the basic infrastructure and marketing team in place.
Bringing joy into healing and rehabilitation
Using motion-sensing technology, cloud capabilities and gamification design, LongGood has made the Papamama System : Tele - rehabilitation of patients discharged from hospitals, possible. There is no rushing back and forth the hospital, as the VR-enhanced training/evaluation of the patient provides the therapist with required data to systematically analyse and manage patient cases. Through game design, patient rehabilitation is enhanced while providing them the will and motivation to continue therapy. Patients who recover help other patients with the system. The DBS Foundation grant will be used towards supplementing manufacturing and marketing the product in Taiwan. The grant will support the social enterprise’s expansion plan by subsidising the product for needy elderly, when launched in Singapore.
Sheltering small homes with quality recycled panels
The ModRoof from Re-Materials is a modular roofing system manufactured from recycled packaging and agricultural waste. This neat looking, light weight roofing solution provides houses in the slum areas with better insulation and is safer with no risk of collapse. Offered at half the price of a concrete roof, the Mod roof can also be accessed through micro finance by low income families. The DBS Foundation grant will be used to further reduce the price of the ModRoof through purchase of critical machinery for production, thereby making it more accessible in the market.
Bringing solar light to rural & disaster hit areas
Through development of affordable and convenient smart solar devices such as solar stations, solar chargers and solar stoves, the young scientists at Pionovasion are trying to solve power problems in rural areas. Their products which provide clean energy are further aimed at providing relief to disaster hit, under developed, hard-to- access areas where inaccessibility to power is a reality. The DBS Foundation grant will help towards providing, testing and enhancing the solar stations at rural schools in China.
Innovating sustainable construction solutions with Agri waste
Trying to channelize the 120 million tonnes of agricultural waste that is produced in Indonesia, Mycotech is using mushroom technology as a natural adhesive to pull organic fibers together and produce ecofriendly, sturdy, light weight products. This product can be customised into elegant looking panels and tiles for furniture, cabinetry and other interiors. The DBS Foundation grant will be used for getting their pilot plant facility in place as well as obtain the necessary certifications for next stage of business.
Giving ex-offenders a new start
A firm believer in second chances, Soon Huat Bak Kut Teh has trained over 100 ex-offenders and turned them into effective employees in their various roles as main chefs, cooks, service staff, supervisors and cashiers. 60% of their staff in all their 4 outlets are ex-offenders. The beneficiaries are also provided free housing, training courses, medical cover while working with the eateries. The DBS Foundation grant will be used to subsidise manpower costs at their newly opened full-fledged dining house as well as strengthen the support system for the beneficiaries.
Quenching thirst in rural South East Asian communities
WateROAM designs water filtration systems that provide clean water within seconds. The new ROAMfilter Plus from WateROAM is engineered to filter water of harsh conditions in rural regions and disaster relief zones. Designed with simplicity and requiring no electricity to run, ROAMfilter Plus excels at delivering clean water to large communities quickly and efficiently. The DBS Foundation grant will be used for full-scale manufacturing as well as develop distribution networks into Cambodia and Philippines.
Bringing world class personalised learning to offline, underserved communities
With an end-to-end, affordable Blended Learning model, Zaya’s technology and pedagogy model can be used by schools who have low-skilled teachers and with no or limited internet through the ClassCloud that stores and deploys content in a personalised manner. Zaya currently provides technology-enabled product for Grades 1-5 for Math, English and Science along with comprehensive professional development for teachers and school leaders. To date 50,000 children have learnt on the Zaya platform with over 5 million lessons. DBS Foundation’s grant will help drive Zaya’s expansion by strengthening their mobile product offering as well as building a business development and regional sales team.
As the sea level rises with global warming, excessive underground water has been collecting in the interior areas causing large areas of land subsidence. Floods and droughts due to erratic climatic changes bring in further stress while land turns salty making it uncultivable.
All these factors affect fish farmers and their produce. Asher International eco-Health proposes a solution to alleviate land subsidence and offer safer food in Taiwan. By promoting natural eco-health aquaculture method (NEAM) they produce safe fish products. NEAM helps cultivate certain fish species in moderated ratios in order to create a healthy ecosystem. The ecosystem can generate water of best quality with nutritious elements and with lower need for water replacement. With no hormones, antibiotics and chemicals used in the entire processes, the fish produced are healthy, safe and great for consumption.
By adopting NEAM, fish farmers save water/electricity costs as well as get a higher selling price for their healthy fish. With no current business solution to land subsidence, local residents benefit if NEAM is adopted as floods are prevented by this method of aquaculture.
The DBS Foundation grant will be used towards marketing Asher's method to fishing farmers and getting them to upgrade to aquaculture. The grant will aid product development and provide more job opportunities for local disadvantaged residents in Taiwan.
Click here to know more about Asher's inspiration for change and how their fishing method stands superior
Founded by the philosophy of creating a moral society with the help of technology, Beijing Bao Yi Technology Development Company has over 50% blind staff members who are responsible for the company's after-sales services. Dedicated to solving disabled people's study and living difficulties by means of technology, the company has developed the software which can transform ordinary smart phones into voice based mobile phones suitable for use by the blind. When installed on any Android device, it will allow children listen to their favorite stories or content. Simple gestures will help the children open and listen to books they would have otherwise have to learn Braille and have the books served to them in Braille as well. The software design philosophy is simple, accessible and abundant. The catalogue hierarchy will suggest reading content based on the child's reading preferences and patterns including primary school textbooks, story books etc. With this project called “World in Eyes”, over ten thousand hours of audio books, thousands of children's books and other content supplements will be made available for the visually impaired children. The DBS Foundation's grant will help further develop and strengthen this reading software which is exclusively designed for visually impaired children.
Know more about Beijing Bao Yi Technology and their motivation behind developing this meaningful software.
The core of Bettr Barista's operations is centred on a specially developed Holistic Training Programme - customised to reach out to disadvantaged women and youth in Singapore. The Programme goes far beyond work skills, adopting a whole-person approach that combines professional coffee education with life and emotional management skills as well as physical training. From offering paid attachments and permanent career opportunities with industry partners, to mentorship roles in their active alumni community, Bettr Barista helps these marginalised groups rise above difficult life situations, take responsibility for their own futures and ultimately become better versions of themselves. Bettr Barista works round the year with social service organisations, family service centres and other community groups to identify potential programme participants. To date, Bettr Barista has made a positive impact on the lives of over 160 women and hopes to touch at least 600 more women in the next 5 years, seeking to build their self-esteem and resilience while providing international-standard professional coffee education to further their careers. Bettr Barista's business model centers on providing professional coffee education and internationally-recognised certification for industry professionals and creating coffee-themed experiences for corporate clients and events. They have plans to initiate a micro franchise coffee cart model which is yet to be piloted.
The DBS Foundation grant will be used for strengthening their headcount, business development as well as enhancing marketing capabilities.
Read more on how Bettr Barista changes lives of marginalised women through coffee.
Currently, in Singapore only 9% of nearly 870,000 tonnes of plastic waste generated is being recycled. The remaining 91% is either disposed in landfills or sent to incinerators causing carbon dioxide pollution thereby significantly contributing to climate change. BlueRen - a clean technology company is addressing the social challenges of waste management with a novel (patent pending) technology to convert unsorted plastic waste into high performance nano-carbon additives. These additives add value in terms of strength and have immense potential in the concrete manufacturing industry. The use of this additive can decrease cement usage upto 30%, thereby reducing the need for its import into Singapore. By capturing low value waste plastics and turning them into high value additives suitable for enhancing concrete strength, BlueRen seeks to deliver an eco-friendly product through a sustainable process. Through this technology, BlueRen also provides a cost effective alternative to waste collectors for disposing plastic waste.
The DBS Foundation grant will be used towards making the prototype and optimizing the conversion process. BlueRen will also engage with customers, obtain feedback and gather interest for its eco-friendly concrete.
Read more about the young team that is making the innovation at BlueRen so relevant for Singapore.
With a mission of ‘providing quality medical education', Bodhi Health Education is significantly improving the understanding and awareness among health professionals and community health workers through technology tools. Using well developed education modules, Bodhi helps deliver complex medical topics to semi-literate women in an interactive and engaging way using pictorial content and videos in regional languages. Bodhi represents relevant social innovation as it's a first in providing engaging pictorial content through low cost technology, penetrating rural India where this health awareness is needed most. More importantly the social enterprise delivers offline access in remote areas as well as reduces dependency on trainers. It also helps make health education fun by offering gamification based solutions.
The grant amount will be used to upgrade the technology platform, build the Maternal and Child Health Training Curriculum, as well as build marketing and field intervention efforts such as training 3,000 community health workers in the northern and north eastern states of India in a year.
What motivated the founders to embark on this interesting yet challenging journey of health education in rural India? Read on.
With onset of unhealthy lifestyles in urban areas, commercial large scale agriculture taking over clean natural farming in Taiwan, an urgent need arose to bring health back to food consumption and connect city to countryside. To address this 12 volunteers in Taiwan started “Buy Directly From Farmers” (BDFF) and registered it as a company-based social enterprise in 2014.
BDFF is dedicated to empowering small farmers in Taiwan and also works to make people understand how their lifestyle and eating habits impact the environment and the way food is grown. They help connect farmers to urban customers through information such as sharing farmers' locations and life stories through social media and selling eco-friendly, fresh quality produce through their ecommerce platform. Currently BDFF works with over 60 farmers and has a wide community of 107,000 customers, collectively creating a positive change in the world.
The DBS Foundation grant will be used to upgrade their current ecommerce platform making it compatible for use on all devices including tablets and smart phones. The grant will also be partly used for building the agriculture community network.
Read more about how Buy Directly from Farmers has changed the way Taiwanese view and consume food.
E&I Food Concepts is a food and beverage business in Singapore specializing in gourmet style European cuisine. This social enterprise was started by youth who went through challenging times during their teen years. Chance cooking at hawker stall and learning new cuisines from trained chefs captured and fine-tuned their interests while opening new doors of possibilities. Having learnt the hard way, the social entrepreneurs went on to encourage youngsters who need that extra nudge in finding their way. Youngsters at their restaurant are taught the intricacies of French cooking techniques, vastly different from working at a fast food chain or food production factory. Small restaurant environment allows staff to experience the entire process providing them with unique skills. Since the social enterprise opened doors, at-risk youth and young adults have been employed and trained, who have later moved on to become chefs at reputable restaurants. Taking a cue from the current economic scenario where breaking even has to happen early in the business life cycle, E&I Food Concepts is keen to promote the expansion of their business through smaller stall concepts within modern hawker bars while downsizing the expensive restaurant business. The SE has also forayed into private dining and food consultancy.
The DBS Foundation grant will be used towards professional courses for E&I staff getting necessary certifications to maintain quality as well as increase headcount to grow business.
To know more on how E&I started from a small hawker stall to a grow into full fledged restaurant and to making a difference to youth, click here.
With an ever increasing strain on natural resources, ‘mishandling of waste' has emerged as one of the most pressing problems of today. Urban India generates more than 150,000 tonnes of waste daily while the Mumbai city alone generates 10,000 tonnes of waste. Sampurn(e)arth works towards building a socially, ecologically sustainable as well as financially viable zero waste models where waste management and recycling is tackled at the source and mostly in a decentralized fashion. Over three years, the social enterprise has refined its business and operations model, increased its capacity while also elevating the dignity and working conditions of waste collectors in Mumbai. In the next 3 years the enterprise hopes to increase their waste handling capacity as well as employ many more informal waste collectors. Their contribution rings in relevance and significance of social problems due to massive urbanization in developing countries like India.
DBS Foundation grant will be used towards expansion of services serving as working capital as well as helping scale the enterprise by investing in human resource & organisation building.
Click here to read about their growth story and their vision for the future.
While China grows rapidly, both schools and families are not able to offer children relevant educational resources due to the restriction of policies, experience and time. Besides issues associated with latch key children in big cities can present pertinent urban problems. Hence community education that provides flexibility in terms of educational content offering practical learning supplements to school and family education is an answer. Shanghai Better Education Development Center has addressed this social challenge by establishing various experiential learning centres in three cities of China and offering after school reading and homework tutorship for children aged 2 to 12. The social enterprise developed a cartoon character, Aflatoun and has since devised educational content based on this character. The content is shared via interesting lessons and at their centres which are located closer to communities with migrant workers or low-income families. Each centre is financially sustainable, as programmes offered and fees charged are tiered to match the affordability of the community they serves. Shanghai Better Education seeks to improve the accessibility to quality of life skills and academic education for these children through these centres and their unique curriculum.
The Suzhou Park Government has recently offered a site of 200 square meters to this social enterprise to build an Aflatoun experience hall. The DBS Foundation grant will be used towards building this facility in Suzhou which shall also focus on providing financial literacy for children.
To know more on how Shanghai Better Education addresses the learning challenges in China, click here.
Vasham offers an end to end service for smallholder farmers that seeks to address challenges within an inefficient and inequitable system that impedes smallholder farmers in the growth out of poverty. Some challenges that the social enterprise helps address for farmers include limited access to credit, fair markets, farm inputs, and information. They provide a complete agribusiness solution for smallholder corn farmers called Konco Programme which includes the delivery of quality farm inputs (seed, organic fertilizer, chemical fertilizer, pesticide, and herbicide) on credit, operational cash loans, agronomy training, field support, and direct market access to industry off-takers. The unique attribute of Vasham's model is that they do not charge interest, instead enter a profit-sharing agreement of 90% to farmers and 10% to the social eneterprise ensuring shared alignment in the goals for improving productivity and increasing income. Vasham's product development is centred around four themes of innovation - improve farmer productivity, quality, reduce farming costs, and reduction in risks to deliver on intended mission of increasing smallholder farmer income.
The DBS Foundation grant will be used is to expand their business operations in Sumatra and Java as well as build a standardised recruitment and training programme for their field team.
Read more about how Vasham started the journey to alleviate small holder farmers' challenges.
WEDO GLOBAL is a social enterprise working out of Hong Kong to create harmony amongst people of multi cultural diverse backgrounds by addressing issues related to cultural understanding and conflict. They help enhance people's global awareness, cultural understanding and sensitivity by conducting interactive multi-cultural workshops, community-based walking tours and overseas tours. Participants experience, learn and reflect on cultural differences.
WEDO GLOBAL works towards promoting peace & understanding in culturally diverse contexts. They advocate multi-cultural education and also work towards employment and empowerment of ethnic minorities.
Having had good success and social impact in Hong Kong, WEDO GLOBAL will use the grant amount from DBS Foundation towards building an online global platform to cater to small groups and individuals who are looking for unique cultural experiences. Capacity building to strengthen staff commitment and ability in order to cater to fast growing demand will also be addressed. Employing ethnic minority underprivileged groups to form a global team with teammates from diverse cultural backgrounds will be another way how the grant will be put to use.
Know more about WEDO GLOBAL's programmes and how it has helped participants.