Who We Are
DBS Foundation champions social entrepreneurship – businesses for good. We believe that businesses can and should play a key role in solving complex social and environmental issues in a sustainable way, to improve lives and livelihoods. We work with social enterprises in Singapore, India, Indonesia, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong to scale their business and impact. Together, we are building towards our vision of a more inclusive Asia.
ADVOCATE for social enterprises
We build awareness through regional and local events and competitions, bootcamps, workshops, learning forums, and collaborations with like-minded ecosystem partners. Read more about our past programmes and events to see how the Foundation champions businesses for good.
INTEGRATE with DBS’ culture and operations
We work across DBS’ six key markets to engage employees in solving challenges faced by social enterprises via skills-based volunteering, introduce procurement of social enterprise offerings, and is the first bank in Singapore to offer a Social Enterprise Banking Package.
Asia’s economic growth in the past few decades have drastically improved the lives of many, but it has also given rise to a myriad of socio-economic problems such as widening income gaps, gender inequality, ageing populations, and environmental challenges. Increasingly, the public, employees, governments and shareholders expect companies to also create positive impact in the society they operate in.
2009: DBS pioneered the Social Enterprise Banking Package to support the growth of small businesses committed to solving social and environmental issues.
2014: DBS Foundation was established with SGD 50 million funds set aside, in conjunction with Singapore’s jubilee year (SG50). This move signalled the Bank’s commitment to be a further catalyst of change as a champion of social entrepreneurship in Asia.
2014-2018: Partnering with National University of Singapore, the Foundation launched the DBS-NUS Social Venture Challenge Asia in 2014. This five-year collaboration became the largest regional platform to recognise social enterprises. In 2018, we received 870 entries across 42 countries – the highest number of participating countries for this competition – demonstrating the growing interest in social entrepreneurship across the region.
2015-Present: The inaugural batch of 11 grant awardees from our 6 key markets was announced in October 2015, working in areas of healthcare, education and environmental sustainability. Over the years, the causes funded by our flagship grant programme expanded to cover areas such as inclusive employment, waste management, food sustainability and social inclusion. Learn more about our 2020 grantees here.
2016-2018: 2016 marked the inaugural DBS Foundation Annual Social Enterprise Summit centred on the theme “Hard Truths and Honest Conversations”. Over 200 social enterprises across Asia and 35 expert speakers from 13 countries participated in this regional platform to kickstart important conversations, relevant connections and necessary strategic thinking to support the growth of social enterprises.
2017: 14 social enterprises received a total of SGD 1.1 million in grants to scale their business and impact. The Annual Social Enterprise Summit themed “Innovate for Impact” in Jakarta gathered over 300 business owners to discuss challenges in their pursuit of social innovations and solutions to stay relevant in the age of digital disruptions.
2017-Present: DBS Foundation started engaging senior leaders and bank employees to nurture social enterprises through skills-based volunteering and capacity building programmes.
2018-Present: DBS Foundation partners with the Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise (raiSE) to organise Social Enterprise Week, consisting of a retail marketplace, conversations, workshops, and competitions. The Annual Social Enterprise Summit themed “Social Impact + Profit: Can boundaries be blurred?” and the Festival for Good congregated 9000 attendees.
2019-2020: The DBS Foundation Social Impact Prize, worth SGD 150,000, was launched as part of Singapore Management University’s 2019 Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition, to identify sustainable businesses that address social and environmental problems globally. Read more about the winners, StratifiCare and Polybee.
2020: Against the context of Covid-19 pandemic, DBS Foundation announced an additional SGD 550,000 for the Business Transformation and Improvement (BTI) Grant to support 13 social enterprises across Asia. The grant provided funding to protect and create jobs; and helped pivot the businesses digitally in search of new income streams to transform their business operations.
Note: The above figures are cumulative from 2014 to 2020.
DBS Foundation strives to develop a thriving ecosystem to support innovative and sustainable social enterprises. The Foundation supports social enterprises to scale up their businesses and multiply their social impact.
Since inception, DBS Foundation has supported social enterprises engaged in various causes, such as children and youth, women and girls, elderly, disabilities and special needs, rural communities, healthcare, urban poor, environment, capacity building, and heritage and culture.
Partner with DBS Foundation to champion the causes of social enterprises across Asia.