Meet the top 10 finalists of DBS-NUS Social Venture Challenge Asia 2018

These well-deserving finalists across Asia are solving today’s most pressing social problems. From reducing CO2 emissions, solving energy needs to providing education and life skills to underserved groups, these social entreprenuers are rallying change in their own way.

As part of the DBS Social Enterprise Summit, ten social entrepreneurs in Asia will pitch their ideas at the 5th annual DBS-NUS Social Venture Challenge Asia. These ten innovative social enterprises were handpicked from 870 entries from over 42 countries. Here’s how they’re changing the world and why they inspire us to live more.

Photo from Shanghai BeBetter Education

The Power of Education

While major progress has been made in access to education, access does not always equate to quality or affordability. The AfterSchool social learning platform levels the playing field by providing students with affordable, quality education that they can pick up at their own pace, anytime anywhere.

In China, Shanghai BeBetter Education is tackling the challenge of providing relevant educational resources for children aged three to 15 years in underprivileged communities. With the hopes of breaking the cycle of poverty, this social enterprise equips children with essential competencies and life skills like financial literacy required in daily life.

Beyond being “book smart”, Phi Life Center engages youths from low-income backgrounds with the aim of mentoring, equipping and empowering them with life and work skills. The learning academy encourages youths-at-risk to be positive assets, integrating them into the workforce and reconnecting them with their communities.

Making Healthcare Accessible to All

Significant strides have been made in increasing life expectancy, but access to health care is also not always inclusive. In most parts of the world where healthcare is lacking, an illness is diagnosed too late for life-saving treatments. At CMED Health Limited, early detection of an illness is crucial to preventive healthcare. This social enterprise developed an artificial intelligence-driven cloud-based preventive healthcare platform to monitor essential health vitals through smartphones and FDA approved IoT devices.

In the area of speech disability, current voice devices are costly, virtually inaccessible for many in poor socio-economic backgrounds. Innaumation Medical Devices designed and invented a $1 speaking voice prosthesis. Meanwhile, TS Technology taps on artificial intelligence (AI) to develop an affordable mobile-based Mandarin speech aid.

Tackling Climate Change

On the environmental front, the goal of these two social entrepreneurs is to reduce the chief villain of climate change – C02 emissions – creatively. In far-flung geographies and limited resources, these two social enterprises have cracked the code.

In Indonesia, the traditional ways of processing cloves leaves into clove oil have an environmental impact that usually goes unnoticed. With the aim of reducing carbon footprint in clove production, Kendal Agro Atsiri uses an eco-friendly waste management system by collecting raw material from local villagers. Through their work, this social enterprise provides job opportunities, ultimately helping the larger local community overcome poverty and improve the quality of life.

Meanwhile, ATEC* Biodigesters International developed a solution to create renewable energy from waste. An effective and eco-friendly alternative to non-sustainable fuels, their technology has helped rural villages with their daily energy needs – both mitigating C02 emissions and increasing household income.

Photo from Bambuhay Social Enterprise

Consuming More Responsibly

While the reduction of C02 is crucial, so is conscious consumption. India, one of the largest agricultural producers loses 60 million tons of agri-produce post-harvest. One of the most critical challenges is extending the shelf life of fresh produce. Science for Society Techno Services’ Solar Conduction Dryer works without electricity and helps farmers extend the shelf life of producers, reducing food spoilage, with massive impact on profits.

Apart from a positive mission to the impact the environment through reusable bamboo straws and other bamboo products, Bambuhay Social Enterprise, too also seeks to contribute to the livelihood of the community. This social enterprise also seeks to contribute to the livelihood of the community by providing employment opportunities for marginalised communities.

Check out the finalists at the DBS-NUS Social Venture Challenge Asia, spearheaded by the DBS Foundation and part of the Social Enterprise Summit held at Marina One, from Tuesday, 16 October 2018 to Thursday, 18 October 2018.