DBS announces inaugural DBS Foundation social impact prize worth SGD 150,000

Singapore.05 Sep 2019

Award welcomes global entries from start-ups and is part of Singapore Management University’s (SMU) Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition

Singapore, 05 Sep 2019 - Innovative start-ups and early-stage ventures looking to solve social and/or environmental issues can now be awarded SGD 150,000 worth of funding and support by participating in the inaugural DBS Foundation Social Impact Prize. Initiated by DBS Foundation, the first foundation in Singapore dedicated to championing entrepreneurship, and Singapore Management University (SMU), the DBS Foundation Social Impact Prize makes its debut this year as a category in the biennial Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition (LKYGBPC).

The DBS Foundation Social Impact Prize aims to identify sustainable, scalable and enterprising business solutions from across the world that help address crucial social problems and make cities of the future more inclusive, healthier and greener. The award of SGD 150,000 includes SGD 100,000 in prize money, along with non-monetary support in the form of capacity building, mentoring by DBS’ senior management, as well as branding and profiling opportunities. Its submission deadline is 17 November 2019, 11:59pm (GMT +8). For more details on the prize, visit go.dbs.com/SIP or https://www.smu.edu.sg/lky

Said Karen Ngui, Board Member of DBS Foundation and DBS’ Head of Group Strategic Marketing & Communications, “The world is changing at an unprecedented rate. The rapid transformation and expansion of populations and cities presents its own set of issues and correspondingly, opportunities. The DBS Foundation Social Impact Prize serves to encourage socially conscious entrepreneurs around the world to develop solutions to pressing social problems facing this generation and the next, as well as to help kick-start innovative businesses for good.”

“Smart cities innovations are happening right now, particularly with advanced technologies such as AI, robotics integration, smart mobility and more. Yet, with all these advancements we need to constantly remind ourselves how can these innovations and solutions help benefit the residents of these cities,” said Mr Hau Koh Foo, Director of SMU Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “With DBS Foundation as our partner, we hope to drive this message through the 10th Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition to provide a globally-recognised platform for young innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs from around the world to develop fresh and innovative ideas that would bring about positive impact for the cities of today and in the future.”

The DBS-SMU Sustainability Initiative

The DBS Foundation Social Impact Prize is the latest initiative to be announced as part of the bank’s longstanding partnership with SMU on a comprehensive range of initiatives to promote sustainability in the region. Earlier this year, the DBS-SMU Sustainability Initiative was established to help tackle real-world sustainability challenges. The initiative saw the introduction of Singapore’s first sustainability major – which has since seen positive take-up rates – and includes scholarships, fellowships, as well as internships. Its 2019 internship programme, the DBS Business for Good Internship Programme, recently concluded to positive results: 20 student interns were matched with nine DBS Foundation-supported social enterprises,[1] where they received valuable on-the-job experience, and learned how to develop and run a commercially and socially viable business. In July 2019, SMU Associate Professor of Operations Management Onur Boyabatli and SMU Associate Professor of Finance Hao Liang were selected as DBS Sustainability Fellows. They will be conducting sustainability research in agriculture and corporate social responsibility respectively[2].

DBS: Championing Asia’s social enterprises since 2009

DBS Foundation, the first foundation in Singapore dedicated to championing entrepreneurship, has nurtured over 300 social enterprises and awarded over 100 social enterprises in Singapore, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia and Taiwan more than SGD 4.7 million in grant funding. 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.

DBS also launched the DBS Social Enterprise Support Programme in 2018, where selected social enterprises 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 over a decade, DBS has been providing social enterprises 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.

[1] Participating social enterprises include Adrenalin, Bettr Barista, boxgreen, CaptionCube, Edible Garden City, Homage, Treedots, UglyGood and WateROAM.

[2]Associate Professor Onur will be researching the environmental implications of biomass commercialisation in agricultural processing and integrated optimisation of farm planning (from cultivation to harvesting) in the fresh produce industry and its implications for food security. Associate Professor Hao Liang will focus on the financial implications of disaster-induced corporate philanthropy around the world, as well as the relationship between CEO age and CSR.


About DBS 

DBS is a leading financial services group in Asia with a presence in 18 markets. Headquartered and listed in Singapore, DBS is 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. 

Recognised for its global leadership, DBS has been named “World’s Best Bank” by Euromoney, “Global Bank of the Year” by The Banker and “Best Bank in the World” by Global Finance. The bank is at the forefront of leveraging digital technology to shape the future of banking, having been named “World’s Best Digital Bank” by Euromoney. In addition, DBS has been accorded the “Safest Bank in Asia” award by Global Finance for ten consecutive years from 2009 to 2018.

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 27,000 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 dbsfoundation@dbs.com.