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News  20, Oct 2012

4 social enterprises receive S$340K DBS grant in efforts to spur social entrepreneurship

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dbs logoFour social enterprises in Singapore received project grants from DBS amounting to S$340,000.

DBS has recently announced that the bank is providing four social enterprises in Singapore with project grants to help with their business expansion plans, while pursing social causes. The project grant awarded to the four social enterprises amounts to S$340,000.

In addition, they are also exploring different ways to support social enterprises, and encourages businesses pursuing social causes with sustainable business models to speak to the bank. This year alone, DBS has earmarked S$1 million as project grants to fund social enterprises. A simple calculation would reveal that there is another S$660,000 available to fund potential social enterprises in Asia.

The four social enterprises that DBS is providing project grants to are:

  • A-changin, a social enterprise that provides training and employment opportunities to women in need. DBS will provide A-changin with a project grant of SS100,000, which will be used by the company to set up a second sewing lab and for working capital purposes
  • Adrenalin Events & Education, an events management company that employs youths-at-risk, ex-offenders, the hearing-impaired, and wheelchair-bound individuals. DBS will provide a project grant of S$100,000, which will be used by Adrenalin to expand its audio, visuals, effects, and launch mechanisms department
  • Aii, a candy wrapping company that employs hearing-impaired individuals. DBS will provide a project grant of SS40,000, which will be used by Aii to set up an e-commerce site, purchase an in-house candy wrapper printer and provide staff training
  • Bizlink Centre Singapore, an organisation that provides comprehensive employment services for disadvantaged people. DBS will provide a grant of SS100,000, which will be used to set up a new bakery social enterprise

These social enterprises were selected based on the sustainability of their business models, level of social impact and how innovative their proposed projects are.

We often hear about mobile and web apps that aims to solve various pain points and we often focus too much on first world problems. These social enterprises are working to help improve the life of those whom are at a disadvantage. Most would choose not to venture into social enterprises because they are relatively unsexy and many would face a hard time figuring out how to make money from it.

With the help of DBS, these social enterprises can definitely deliver more value and impact to the society.

Read on for the full press release.

Press Release

***

SINGAPORE, 16 October 2012 – DBS Bank today announced that the bank is providing four social enterprises in Singapore with project grants to help them with their business expansion plans while pursuing their social causes. This initiative underlines the importance that DBS places in supporting the development of social entrepreneurship in Singapore and the region. DBS is also exploring different ways to support social enterprises, and encourages businesses pursuing social causes with sustainable business models to speak to the bank.

DBS has earmarked SGD 1 million as project grants this year to fund social enterprises with solid growth potential in Asia. As a start, it will provide a total of SGD 340,000 in project grants to four social enterprises in Singapore. These funds will help them expand their businesses and in turn, create additional jobs. The bank will also provide process improvement expertise to help these social enterprises with their business expansion plans.

The four social enterprises that DBS is providing project grants to are:

  • A-changin, a social enterprise that provides training and employment opportunities to women in need. DBS will provide A-changin with a project grant of SGD 100,000, which will be used by the company to set up a second sewing lab and for working capital purposes
  • Adrenalin Events & Education, an events management company that employs youths-at-risk, ex-offenders, the hearing-impaired, and wheelchair-bound individuals. DBS will provide a project grant of SGD 100,000, which will be used by Adrenalin to expand its audio, visuals, effects, and launch mechanisms department
  • Aii, a candy wrapping company that employs hearing-impaired individuals. DBS will provide a project grant of SGD 40,000, which will be used by Aii to set up an e-commerce site, purchase an in-house candy wrapper printer and provide staff training
  • Bizlink Centre Singapore, an organisation that provides comprehensive employment services for disadvantaged people. DBS will provide a grant of SGD 100,000, which will be used to set up a new bakery social enterprise

These social enterprises were selected based on the sustainability of their business models, level of social impact and how innovative their proposed projects are.

Said Karen Ngui, DBS Head of Group Strategic Marketing & Communications, “As a leading Asian bank, DBS is committed to creating value for its stakeholders, including the communities that the bank is present in. We are focused on building a better future for the region by supporting social enterprises, which we believe offer innovative and sustainable solutions to meet social needs in a constantly evolving Asia.”

Since 2008, DBS has been working closely with the social enterprise sector and was the first bank in Singapore to launch a banking package targeted at social enterprises. In July this year, DBS enhanced the banking package, offering social enterprises virtually free banking transaction services and loans on preferential terms, giving them time to focus on building their businesses and creating social impact. DBS now banks over 80% of social enterprises in Singapore and has a dedicated team of relationship managers to handle this client segment. DBS is also planning to launch localised social enterprise banking packages in its other key markets of China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia and Taiwan in 2013.

“With our experience in serving SMEs in Singapore and the region, we understand the challenges that social enterprises face in generating financial and social returns. We were the first bank to launch a banking package targeted at social enterprises, and now we are going one step further to help them achieve their social objectives,” said Lim Chu Chong, DBS Head of SME Banking.

In its key markets, DBS is working with industry associations, academic institutions and government bodies to promote the development of the social enterprise sector. In Singapore, the bank has been working with the Social Enterprise Association (SEA) since 2008 to help profile social enterprises. In August this year, the bank partnered with Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) to champion social entrepreneurship in India.

The bank has also taken steps to integrate the support of social enterprises into its culture and operations by procuring their goods and services and encouraging DBS’ employees to be advocates. The bank has also designated a dedicated area at its headquarters at DBS Asia Central @ Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 3 for social enterprises to showcase their goods and services, and promote their social causes. The “DBS Social Enterprise Exchange” will provide the opportunity for staff to interact with social enterprises and learn more about the causes they support.

About DBS

DBS – Living, Breathing Asia
DBS is a leading financial services group in Asia, with over 200 branches across 15 markets. Headquartered and listed in Singapore, DBS is a market leader in Singapore with over four million customers and also has a growing presence in the three key Asian axes of growth, namely, Greater China, Southeast Asia and South Asia. The bank’s strong capital position, as well as “AA-” and “Aa1″ credit ratings that are among the highest in the Asia-Pacific region, earned it Global Finance’s “Safest Bank in Asia” accolade for four consecutive years, from 2009 to 2012.

DBS provides the full range of services in consumer, SME and corporate banking activities across Asia and the Middle East. As a bank born and bred in Asia, DBS also understands the intricacies of doing business in the region’s most dynamic markets. This market insight and regional connectivity have helped to drive the bank’s growth as it sets out to be the Asian bank of choice. The bank believes that building lasting relationships with its customers is an integral part of banking the Asian way.

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 18,000 staff, representing over 30 nationalities.  For more information, please visit www.dbs.com.

Jacky Yap

Jacky Yap

Having spent one year abroad in Shanghai under the NUS Overseas College Programme, Jacky has an avid interest in entrepreneurship and web based startups. Jacky used to run N-House, Singapore's first entrepreneurial themed residence in NUS, and was also part of the organizing team for Startup Weekend Singapore 2012. You can reach him at jacky [at] e27 [dot] co

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