DBS Foundation opens applications for its 2023 Grant Award

India.22 May 2023

Grant awardees to receive up to INR 1.5 CR (SGD 250,000) in funding

Applications open till 15 June 2023

India, 22 May 2023 - DBS Foundation has announced the Business for Impact Grant Award for social enterprises and small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) that are developing innovative solutions to address pertinent social and environmental issues.

Now in its ninth year, the award is designed to recognise and catalyse the growth of businesses that have successfully integrated both social/environmental impact and financial
profit into their business models and are strongly positioned for long-term growth. SMEs and social enterprises can submit their applications until 15 June 2023.

As of last year, DBS Foundation has also expanded the Grant Award’s mandate with the introduction of an SME category to encourage these businesses to transition towards more sustainable models. Over 250 SMEs applied for the award despite it being the first instalment, reflecting the sector’s growing awareness and interest in this space.

Sudarshan Chari, Executive Director, and Head- SME Banking, DBS Bank Indiasaid, "SMEs have demonstrated their ability and willingness to adopt sustainable practices. However, they often face challenges such as limited resources, insufficient bandwidth, and uncertainty about achieving scale. DBS Foundation's Business for Impact Grant Award aims to assist such enterprises in transitioning to sustainable and impact-driven models. In addition to the grant, we offer a range of sustainable financing and ecosystem platform solutions to accelerate their transformation journey."

The work of last year’s 23 Grant Award recipients is projected to collectively benefit more than two million lives and livelihoods in Asia, reduce over 100,000 tonnes of food waste, and abate greenhouse gas emissions by 300 tonnes by end 2024. Three Indian startups- Neomotion Assistive Solutions, Saathi Eco Innovations, and Urdhvam Environmental Technologies were among the recipients of the grant.

Beyond the funding, recipients of the Grant Award can tap into the resources and expertise across DBS to bolster their businesses. These include preferential banking packages, skills-building and mentorship, and access to a robust ecosystem of like-minded businesses, investors, and enablers, among others. This holistic support has enabled many past awardees to unlock their potential by accelerating the growth and development of their businesses – such as enhancing their operational capacity and expanding into new markets, depending on their respective business needs – while concurrently deepening their social and/or environmental impact.

Shoma Narayanan, Managing Director - Group Strategic Marketing - Communications, DBS Bank India, said, "The DBS Foundation Grant Award seeks to support and inspire the next generation of changemakers while advocating for responsible business practices. We strongly believe that purpose-driven businesses have the potential to create a positive impact and play a significant role in addressing critical societal issues. Our award serves as a platform to offer our unwavering support to these enterprises in their journey to develop innovative solutions, empowering them to achieve their full potential."

Since its launch in 2014, DBS Foundation has contributed to the growth of over 800 businesses for impact in Asia. Out of this, around 100 enterprises have been awarded more
than SGD 13 million (~INR 80 Crore) in total through the annual Grant Award. Despite the supposed high failure rate of early-stage start-ups, over 90% of the foundation’s grant awardees continue to remain in operation today, and several winning enterprises have been demonstrating exceptional growth, emerging as industry leaders. This includes the likes of Phool, Haqdarshak, S4S Technologies and Ecozen Solutions from India.

The Grant Award is open to social enterprises and SMEs that are registered in the bank’s six key markets in Asia (Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, India, Indonesia). Applicants will be assessed based on the following criteria:
  • Strong leadership team with a clear commitment towards being a business for impact, supported by relevant expertise and experience
  • Strong business model with a clear value proposition and market traction/ potential
  • Robust plans outlining how the grant funding will be deployed to commercialise and scale the solution over the next two years
  • Measurable impact targets and the ability to track progress on these
All applications received before 15 June 2023, 9:30 PM IST will be evaluated for this year’s instalment, and applications received thereafter will be evaluated in the next cycle.
For more details on the DBS Foundation Business for Impact Grant Award and guidance on applications, please visit: DBS Foundation Grant Award | DBS Foundation | DBS Bank

About DBS
DBS is a leading financial services group in Asia across 19 markets. DBS is known for its global leadership, being recognised as the “World’s Best Bank” thrice by Global Finance since 2018. DBS was also recognised as the “World’s Best Bank” by Euromoney in 2021 for the second time in three years and “Global Bank of the Year” by The Banker in 2021. The bank is at the forefront of leveraging digital technology to shape the future of banking with its recognition as the “World’s Best Digital Bank” by Euromoney in 2021 and the world's “Most Innovative in Digital Banking” by The Banker in the same year. Apart from these accolades, DBS has been accorded the “Safest Bank in Asia” award by Global Finance for 14 consecutive years from 2009 to 2022. Additionally, DBS Bank was ranked among the top 3 on Forbes' list of the World's Best Banks in India for three consecutive years, from 2020 to 2022.

DBS Bank has been present in India for 28 years, opening its first office in Mumbai in 1994. DBS Bank India Limited is the first among the large foreign banks in India to start operating as a wholly-owned, locally incorporated subsidiary of a leading global bank. DBS provides a range of banking services for large, medium, and small enterprises and individual consumers in India. In 2016, DBS launched India's first mobile-only bank, digibank, which now has ~1 million savings accounts. In November 2020, Lakshmi Vilas Bank was merged with DBS Bank India Limited. The bank now has a network of ~530 branches in 19 Indian states.

DBS provides a full range of consumer, SME, and corporate banking services. As a bank born and bred in Asia, DBS understands the intricacies of business in the region's most dynamic markets. DBS is committed to building lasting relationships with customers and positively impacting communities. It established an SGD 50 million foundation to strengthen its corporate social responsibility efforts across Asia by supporting social enterprises: businesses with a double bottom line of profit and social and environmental impact. In 2020, DBS introduced the "Towards Zero Food Waste" initiative as part of a global sustainability practice to encourage a shift in behaviours and mindsets to reduce food waste. In 2022, DBS committed an additional SGD 100 million to deepen the ability to create an impact beyond banking, catalysing the bank's various philanthropic and crisis relief measures.

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 of our 30,000+ staff representing over 40 nationalities. For more information, please visit: www.dbs.com/India

About DBS Foundation
DBS Foundation is focused on creating impact and improving lives through championing social entrepreneurship and preparing communities for the future.

The existing “Business for Impact” chapter was established when DBS Foundation commenced operations in 2014 and focuses on championing businesses and social enterprises with a dual bottom line.

In 2022, the DBS Foundation expanded the scope and scale of its operations with the formation of the new “Community Impact” chapter. The new chapter looks to supporting communities by equipping them with essential skills for a better future, specifically financial and digital literacy skills. It also aims to tackle climate change with a focus on food waste reduction.

For further details, please contact:

DBS Bank India

Rohini Rego


99305 49207

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