DBS Foundation To Recognise and Support Asia’s Leading Social Enterprises and SMEs Through 2023 Grant Award; Applications Open Till 15 June 2023 | Bahasa

Indonesia.04 May 2023.3 min read

Grant awardees stand to receive up to SGD 250,000 in funding, and can tap the bank’s resources and expertise

Indonesia, 04 May 2023 - From now till 15 June 2023, social enterprises and small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) that are developing innovative solutions to address pertinent social and environmental issues can apply for the DBS Foundation Business for Impact Grant Award (“Grant Award”). 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. 

Borne from the bank’s dedication to being a force for good, DBS Foundation is dedicated to uplifting lives and livelihoods in the community, and a key means through which it does so is by supporting like-minded entrepreneurs that share its vision.

Since its launch in 2014, the foundation has contributed to the growth of over 800 businesses for impact in Asia – out of which, some 100 of them have been awarded grant funding totalling more than SGD 13 million through its annual Grant Award. The Grant Award has been integral in spotting and empowering diamonds in the rough – despite the supposed high failure rate of early-stage start-ups, over 90% of the foundation’s grant awardees continue to remain in operations today.

In particular, some 15 of them have demonstrated exceptional growth and become industry leaders in their own right. These include TreeDots (Singapore), S4S Technologies (India) and MYCL (Indonesia) – these three were only starting out when they first earned DBS Foundation’s confidence and seed capital, but have since moved on to Series A financing respectively. Named “DBS Foundation Fellows”, these 15 enterprises have collectively raised funds of close to USD 100 million to date.

Karen Ngui, DBS Group Head of Strategic Marketing and Communications, and Board Member of DBS Foundation, said: “Over the years, we have seen bright, young entrepreneurial minds that – despite being armed with interesting ideas and robust growth plans – continue to face challenges such as funding difficulties, often stemming from scepticism around a business’s ability to achieve profit and deliver impact. Through the DBS Foundation Grant Award, we aim to empower the next generation of impact-makers by providing them with patient capital and broad-based support. We believe businesses can do well and do good, and hope these purpose-driven enterprises will be able to thrive and achieve their full potential.” 

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, a reflection of the sector’s growing awareness and interest in this space. 

Igniting awardees’ growth potential with patient capital and holistic support 

Beyond funding of up to SGD 250,000 each, recipients of the Grant Award can tap on 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. 

An example is Waste4Change, a social enterprise who received the Grant Award in 2021. Waste4Chage received the grant and utilized it to boost plastic waste management with economic value through partner’snetwork. With the help of DBS Foundation, Waste4Change was able to increase its partners as much as 326 partners and has successfully collected 630 tons of low economic value plastic waste in the April 2022 – February 2023 period.

Besides that, Komerce, as a Grant Award 2020 Winner focused on reducing the unemployment levels and effects of urbanization in villages. In 2017, when Nofi Bayu created Komerce, they saw the gap in skill levels between the younger generation in villages and in cities. Furthermore, Nofi also observed the number of SMEs that are transitioning to electronic trade without sufficient capabilities. Because of this, Komerce was built to provide a digital platform and e-commerce training to younger generations in villages which needed working capital to reach their vision in creating impact. With the DBS Foundation grant, Komerce have successfully expanded their product reach to three new market areas, recruited more than 200 young people and collaborated with 400 SMEs. 

Karen Ngui, DBS Group Head of Strategic Marketing and Communications, and Board Member of DBS Foundation, said: “Businesses for impact are focused on achieving a dual bottom-line, a mission that naturally requires them to go beyond what’s available in the market to develop innovative solutions. Driven by a strong sense of purpose and conviction, we believe these impact-makers can potentially play significant roles in addressing key societal gaps."  

For instance, the work of last year’s 23 Grant Award recipients is expected to collectively benefit more than two million lives and livelihoods in the region, reduce over 100,000 tonnes of food waste, and abate greenhouse gas emissions by 300 tonnes by end 2024.

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, 2359 SGT 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 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 more information, please visit: www.dbs.com/dbsfoundation.

About DBS 

DBS is a leading financial services group in Asia with a presence in 19 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 Global Finance, “World’s Best Bank” by Euromoney and “Global Bank of the Year” by The Banker. 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 and the world’s “Most Innovative in Digital Banking” by The Banker. In addition, DBS has been accorded the “Safest Bank in Asia“ award by Global Finance for 14 consecutive years from 2009 to 2022.

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, as it banks the Asian way. Through the DBS Foundation, the bank creates impact beyond banking by supporting social enterprises: businesses with a double bottom-line of profit and social and/or environmental impact. DBS Foundation also gives back to society in various ways, including equipping communities with future-ready skills and building food resilience.

With its extensive network of operations in Asia and emphasis on engaging and empowering its staff, DBS presents exciting career opportunities. For more information, please visit www.dbs.com.