DBS Foundation awards SGD 3.7 million in catalytic grant funding to 24 Businesses for Impact

Singapore.01 Mar 2024
Singapore, 01 Mar 2024 - DBS Foundation today unveiled the 24 Businesses for Impact (BFIs) that have received the DBS Foundation Grant Award in the latest instalment of this flagship initiative.These innovative, purpose-driven BFIs will receive holistic support to scale both their business and impact: this includes grant funding totalling over SGD 3.7 million; bank-wide support such as preferential banking packages, mentorship and capacity-building; and access to a suite of opportunities including business/ networking prospects and patient capital.

Of the 24 awardees, six are from Singapore

  • Deaftawk: A digital sign language interpretation solution that combines real-time human interpretation with artificial intelligence-driven technology. This addresses the communication gaps faced by the deaf community, enabling them to access essential services and information.
  • Inclus: Helps persons with disabilities (PWDs) to achieve gainful employment and independent living, by matching them with inclusive employers and supporting them in both employment and daily life.
  • Alterpacks: Aims to replace single-use plastic packaging by creating practical and compostable food-grade containers using upcycled food and agricultural waste.
  • SimplyGood: An eco-friendly home cleaning and personal care products company that aims to eliminate single use plastic and helps consumers to take easy actions to improve the planet.
  • N&E Innovations: Transforms food waste into an antimicrobial agent, which can be used to make a range of sustainable products such as masks and disinfectant products.
  • Life Lab Resources: Uses bio-tech solutions coupled with reactive oxygen technology to revolutionise recycling and valorising of food waste. Food waste is treated to create various forms of animal, aquaculture and pet food.

With DBS Foundation’s support, these 24 BFIs aim to collectively achieve the following impact outcomes by end 2025:

  • Positively impact one million people from underprivileged segments by availing accessibility solutions and providing daily needs;
  • Abate and/ or save 30,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions; and
  • Collect, reduce, or recycle 50,000 tonnes of waste

To learn more about all 24 awardees, please visit: DBS Foundation Grant Programme | DBS Bank

Doubling down on tackling social issues and uplifting vulnerable segments

2024 marks the 10th year of DBS Foundation’s work in championing BFIs and equipping them for success.

To date, grant funding totalling SGD 17 million has been awarded to 140 of the region’s most innovative BFIs via the DBS Foundation Grant Award. This has helped to address the funding gap commonly faced by many of these young enterprises –since traditional financing options often prioritise short-term profitability metrices and may not be the best fit for BFIs –and provide them with the catalytic capital and time required to further their growth plans.The grant awardees have since gone on to raise more than ten-fold in follow-on funding.

Additionally, DBS Foundation has also nurtured more than 1200 BFIs in the region through various initiatives such as peer learning and networking events, accelerator and capacity building programmes, skills-based consultations with DBS experts, and more.

One BFI that benefitted from being a part of the DBS Foundation community is Ento Industries, a biotech company founded with a mission to address Singapore’s food waste problem. It leverages black soldier flies, automation and machine learning to transform food waste into useful, high-value and sustainable agricultural products. This unique approach not only solves the problem of food waste, but also creates a scalable and efficient solution for sustainable feed production. Ento Industries received the grant award in 2020, which enabled the then still budding company to successfully establish a pilot production facility, and accelerate its research and development and commercialisation efforts. It has since set up a larger commercial scale facility and going forward, aims to scale food waste processing by 40 times.

Nathaniel Phua, Founder of Ento Industries, said: “Being a DBS Foundation grant awardee really helped propel our business forward, and also assisted in changing the public's perceptions of the utility of insects in sustainability. Additionally, the DBS Foundation community also became our platform for collaboration and amplifying our mission.”

With issues of social inequity increasingly coming to the fore today, DBS Foundation will focus the next chapter of its journey on dialling up support for BFIs that are helping to build a more inclusive society. Many BFIs are often ahead of their time in innovating solutions to help underprivileged segments, such as enabling access to basic needs like healthcare, education, and clean water, and fostering inclusion by developing accessibility solutions and enabling employment.

Claire Wong, Head of Business for Impact Chapter at DBS Foundation, said: “Many of the societal challenges that we face today are too enormous and complex for any one party to solve; a collective effort is required for change to happen. In addition, we also have to think of new ways to solve evolving problems. We stand at the forefront of innovative ideas from many of these Businesses for Impact, and want to enable them to bring these to market to benefit more people. We want to give these solutions an opportunity to flourish. By coming together, we hope to positively affect more lives and livelihoods in the community.”

Beyond its work with BFIs, DBS Foundation also reaches out to underprivileged and vulnerable segments through its Community Impact Chapter, with a range of initiatives that seek to equip them to face the future with confidence. These include partnerships with the Infocomm Media Development Authority to equip 100,000 Singaporeans and residents with digital literacy skills amid a fast-digitalising world, and with SG Enableto equip 6,500 persons with disabilities and their caregivers with the financial and digital skills to live more independently.

In August 2023, DBS had also pledged up to SGD 1 billion over 10 years to uplifting vulnerable segments in society. The first initiative under this commitment went towards an SGD 30 million strategic partnership with the Ministry of Social and Family Development in Singapore to equip lower-income families with children living in rental flats with the support, know-how and opportunities to break out of their present circumstances.


About DBS Foundation
The DBS Foundation is committed to uplifting lives and livelihoods by igniting change in businesses and communities.

Since 2014, the DBS Foundation has been championing social enterprises in Asia, businesses that are for profit, and impact. The Business for Impact chapter now catalyses the growth of innovative, purpose-driven businesses, including SMEs, designed to address pressing issues facing our planet and society.

In 2022, the DBS Foundation raised the bar with the formation of a new Community Impact chapter, to equip the underserved with digital and financial literacy skills to face the future with confidence, and enable communities to be more food secure and resilient.

Our vision is to spark collective action, together with our partners and DBS People of Purpose, to help build a better world for generations today and tomorrow.

For more information, please visit: www.dbs.com/dbsfoundation.