DBS Foundation awards SGD 1.25 million in grants to 12 social enterprises across Asia
Social enterprises awarded this year committed to providing innovative solutions across Asia for various areas including social inclusion and environment protection
The grants will enable SEs to enhance their offerings, bring their prototypes to market, improve existing processes or scale up their existing business to achieve greater social impact. This year, the DBS Foundation received applications from a wide range of SEs from across Asia for its annual Grant Programme. The SEs were selected based on criteria including the ability to address social needs, business innovation, as well as the sustainability and scalability of their business models. In addition to presenting their innovative solutions, they needed to demonstrate a path to achieving key business and social impact milestones.
This year’s Singapore grant awardees (please see appendix for full list of awardees) include:
• TreeDots aims to reduce food wastage by creating a platform which links food and beverage (F&B) businesses with unsold food and produce to potential buyers. The grant will be used to enhance TreeDots’ platform which leverages machine learning and integrated systems, therefore enhancing the efficiency of food distribution.
• Yonah is dedicated to transforming healthcare in some of the most under-developed regions in the world, by tackling challenges in the transportation of critical medicines and vaccines to rural and inaccessible areas. The grant will be used for the development and pilot testing of Yonah’s self-developed turnkey cargo drones, which will empower communities in need to overcome access barriers – sustainably and affordably.
Said Karen Ngui, Board Member of DBS Foundation and DBS’ Head of Group Strategic Marketing & Communications, “With the DBS Foundation Social Enterprise Grant Programme in its fourth year, we’ve been seeing growing numbers of young, passionate social entrepreneurs across the region creating innovative solutions for sustained social impact. From building apps that help the blind; to drones that transport medicines to far-off areas; to using seaweed and flower-based packaging solutions or AI to reduce food wastage. Being a purpose-driven organisation, DBS seeks to support these changemakers on their journey to building a better future for all by providing them with the tools, knowledge and networks they need to thrive and achieve greater results for social good.”
Every year, DBS Foundation works closely with the SE Grant Awardees to scale their businesses and social impact, and they have shown commendable progress across Asia. In Singapore, DBS Foundation’s 2017 SE grant awardee Ugly Good which aims to reduce by-product wastage generated by the F&B industry through upcycling and building innovative business models around wastage, has advanced in their research & development and received positive market feedback for their self-developed cleaning agent.
Another 2017 SE grant awardee, Caption Cube, which creates opportunities for inclusive employment by hiring persons with disabilities (PwDs) as transcribers for video captioning services has grown significantly since receiving DBS Foundation’s grant funding. In just over six months, they have hired more PwDs, grown their project pipeline and commenced a trial to enhance their subtitling technologies together with a research institute. In addition, their new live-captioning service for conferences and forums is gaining substantial traction.
DBS Foundation supports social entrepreneurs across Asia in three broad areas. This entails:
• Building awareness and advocacy for SEs through initiatives such as the DBS-NUS Social Venture Challenge Asia, annual DBS SE Summit, bootcamps, workshops and learning forums.
• Nurturing promising SEs through incubation programmes, skilled mentorship and financial assistance.
• Growing high potential SEs through customised support, advisory and funding, and engaging them as DBS procurement vendors.
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 28,000 SEs and supported over 260 SEs with more than SGD 4.7 million in grant funding.
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.
Image 1: Founded by (L-R) Tylor Jong, Nicholas Lim, and Lau Jia Cai, social enterprise TreeDots aims to reduce food wastage by creating a platform which links F&B businesses with unsold food and produce to potential buyers. The grant will be used to enhance TreeDots’ platform which leverages machine learning and integrated systems, therefore enhancing the efficiency of food distribution.
Image 2: Founded by Sim Zhi Min and Ong Tian Chang, social enterprise Yonah seeks to transform healthcare in some of the most under-developed regions in the world, by tackling challenges in the transportation of critical medicines and vaccines to rural and inaccessible areas via a cargo drone delivery system. The grant will be used for the development and pilot testing of Yonah’s self-developed turnkey cargo drones.
DBS is a leading financial services group in Asia, with over 280 branches across 18 markets. Headquartered and listed in Singapore, DBS has a growing presence in the three key Asian axes of growth: Greater China, Southeast Asia and South Asia. The bank's "AA-" and "Aa1" credit ratings are among the highest in the world.
DBS is at the forefront of leveraging digital technology to shape the future of banking, and has been named “World’s Best Digital Bank” by Euromoney. The bank has also been recognised for its leadership in the region, having been named “Asia’s Best Bank” by several publications including The Banker, Global Finance, IFR Asia and Euromoney since 2012. In addition, the bank has been named “Safest Bank in Asia” by Global Finance for nine consecutive years from 2009 to 2017.
DBS provides a full range of services in consumer, SME and corporate banking. As a bank born and bred in Asia, DBS understands the intricacies of doing business in the region’s most dynamic markets. DBS is committed to building lasting relationships with customers, and positively impacting communities through supporting social enterprises, as it banks the Asian way. It has also established a SGD 50 million foundation to strengthen its corporate social responsibility efforts in Singapore and across Asia.
With its extensive network of operations in Asia and emphasis on engaging and empowering its staff, DBS presents exciting career opportunities. The bank acknowledges the passion, commitment and can-do spirit in all of our 26,000 staff, representing over 40 nationalities. For more information, please visit www.dbs.com.
About DBS Foundation
Championing Social Entrepreneurship
As a corporate foundation in Asia solely dedicated to championing social entrepreneurship, DBS Foundation contributes towards building a more inclusive society so that those at society’s margins can enjoy productive and rewarding lives. DBS Foundation works with Social Enterprises and Social Entrepreneurs in Singapore, India, Indonesia, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong with programmes ranging from venture challenges, learning forums, intensive incubation, grant support, financing and skilled volunteer mentoring. The Foundation is an endeavor from DBS Bank to make an even greater impact in addressing Asia’s evolving social needs. Please visit www.dbs.com/dbsfoundation or reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.