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Supporting social enterprises on their innovation journey


Supporting social enterprises on their innovation journey

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Through incubation, capacity building programmes, workshops and bootcamps delivered through able partners in the space, we reach out to high potential social enterprises and provide them with a nurturing environment. Support ranges from mentorship, seed funding or stipends, refining and strengthening of business models, co-working spaces, networking opportunities and so on.

  • Regional
  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • Indonesia
  • India
  • Singapore
  • Taiwan
We reach out to aspiring social entrepreneurs across Asia through the annual DBS-NUS Social Venture Challenge Asia. Organised in conjunction with our partner NUS Enterprise from the National University of Singapore, this competition aims to raise awareness of social entrepreneurship and build a robust community of social entrepreneurs and capacity builders across Asia. Over a period of 5 months, participants undergo workshops and mentorship by some of the most experienced practitioners in this field. Since 2014, this programme has brought together more than 300 individuals and corporate partners from the region as judges, mentors, facilitators and speakers.
In partnership with the YouChange Foundation, the DBS Seed Fund for Social Enterprises reaches out to young aspiring social entrepreneurs from various tertiary institutions in China. The programme identifies promising social enterprises through training sessions and subsequently provides them with grants to grow their businesses. Since 2012, we have supported social enterprises in the sectors of art, design, retail and education. The YouChange Foundation mainly comprises entrepreneurs and aims to support poverty alleviation and other public interest endeavors with grant making model.
In partnership with the Hong Kong Council of Social Service (HKCSS), we launched the HKD 2 million DBS Social Enterprise Advancement Grant in 2013 to support social enterprises. After three consecutive years of grant support, the inaugural DBS Social Innovators programme was launched in 2016 to engage and connect social innovators from different sectors to drive social innovation. The finalists from this programme receive funding support and three months of acceleration support to build up their startups and compete in the finale, where four champions will be awarded HK$450,000 each for their startup business and a further one year of support.
Since 2014, we have organised annual Social Entrepreneurship Boot Camps in conjunction with knowledge partners like the British Council, Kinara Indonesia, LGT Venture Philanthropy and Aavishkaar. The programme seeks to assist seed and venture stage social enterprises with their business challenges and access to funding. Workshops are conducted to equip social entrepreneurs with skills and knowledge, and engage a broader network of social entrepreneurship players in Indonesia. Videos of these bootcamps can be viewed here. In 2015, we published a handbook for social entrepreneurs to better understand the local landscape and process of starting a social enterprise in Indonesia.
Our partnership with Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) over the years has helped create winning social enterprises that address key social needs in India. Through the DBS-TISS Social Entrepreneurship Programme, aspiring social entrepreneurs have been able find innovative solutions in the field of organic farming, waste-management and education for marginalised students amongst many others. Inspiring video stories of these social enterprises can be viewed here.
We organise thematic clinics led by various divisions within DBS Bank. For example, previous sessions have included topics like tax and accounting, digital marketing, and corporate procurement. DBS Foundation also supported a series of incubation programmes run by partners such as DBS HotSpot Pre-Accelerator and Impact HUB.
In Taiwan, the DBS iLab Try–it and Do–it programmes are organised in conjunction with our partner Social Enterprise Insights (SEI). These programmes provide training, facilities and funding to potential social enterprises, with the aim of encouraging ideation and innovation. SEI is the first Mandarin language social enterprise platform in Taiwan, which inspires, connects and supports social innovation and social enterprises in the Greater China Region.