DBS Foundation, the first foundation in Singapore dedicated to championing social entrepreneurship, has launched the 2019 cycle of the DBS Foundation Social Enterprise Grant. Applications submitted by 31 July 2019 will be evaluated in this cycle, and successful applicants can expect to receive between SGD 50,000 and SGD 250,000 in grants. Social entrepreneurs may also submit their applications after 31 July 2019, which will be evaluated in the next grant cycle.
Since 2014, the DBS Foundation Social Enterprise (SE) Grant has supported more than 100 SEs from Singapore, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia and Taiwan achieve their goals for a more sustainable world. These social enterprises have deployed social innovations across the region in areas such as healthcare, social inclusion, environment protection, waste management, food sustainability, as well as employment and income generation for the marginalised. All around the world, SEs are gaining public attention for their contributions to business and social impact – eight DBS Foundation supported SEs were named in 2018 and 2019 Forbes 30 under 30 lists.
Said Karen Ngui, Board Member of DBS Foundation and DBS’ Head of Group Strategic Marketing & Communications, “At DBS, we believe that social enterprises should be commercially viable businesses that are driven by a strong sense of purpose and social mission. Over the years, we have been heartened to see a marked growth in the number of innovative entrepreneurs that are focused on finding ways to address many social issues in a rapidly developing Asia. To help these businesses for good scale and grow their impact, in addition to grant funding, we also provide capacity building incubation programmes, bespoke mentoring and access to a broader network.”
Support beyond grant funding
2018 saw substantial growth in applications and applicants in the region: applications from India and Indonesia doubled, while number of applications across Asia increased 10% year-on-year. In Singapore, last year’s grant awardees, Treedots and Yonah continue to take strides in solving major social problems such as food waste and access to healthcare for rural communities through cargo drone delivery systems.
DBS also launched the DBS Social Enterprise Support Programme in 2018, where selected SEs have access to mentoring sessions by DBS’ senior SME bankers, banking and finance training courses at the DBS SME Academy, as well as better financing options. For more than 10 years, DBS has been providing SEs access to virtually free banking services through its DBS Social Enterprise Package, which comes with zero-minimum balance for account opening and unsecured loans at preferential rates. In addition, DBS Private Bank, in partnership with DBS Foundation runs a quarterly “Windows on Philanthropy” lunch series for its private banking clients. The series seeks to raise awareness among its clients on impact investing and social entrepreneurship, beyond traditional philanthropy.
2019 DBS Foundation Social Enterprise Grant Call
The DBS Foundation Social Enterprise Grant is open to social enterprises across Asia that have a business product or solution that has been validated by the market with clear plans to scale up business, as well as demonstrated commitment to a social mission with a clear roadmap towards scaling social impact. Applications received before 31 July 2019, 2359hrs (Singapore time, GMT +8) will be evaluated from August to September 2019, with the awarding of grants in November 2019. Applications received on 1 August 2019 and thereafter will be evaluated next year.
The DBS Foundation works in partnership with like-minded organisations, the public and social sectors, to promote the development of social entrepreneurship. To find out more about the DBS Foundation SE Grant Programme, visit go.dbs.com/Grants.
While the bank has been supporting SEs for many years, it stepped up its commitment to the growth of social entrepreneurship with the establishment of the SGD 50 million DBS Foundation in 2014, to mark Singapore’s 50th year of independence. To date, DBS has reached out to more than 30,000 SEs and supported some 310 SEs with more than SGD 4.7 million in grant funding.