DBS Foundation today announced 11 social enterprises have been selected as recipients of its inaugural Social Enterprise Grant Programme.

The foundation awarded up to SG$100,000 (US$71,000) to enterprises from Singapore, Hong Kong, China, India, Indonesia and Taiwan to grow and develop their initiatives in areas like healthcare, education and environmental sustainability.

The grant aims to enable social enterprises (SEs) to test and create prototypes, improve existing processes or scale up their existing business. They will also join a community of SEs in Asia that the DBS Foundation will actively support through funding, skilled mentoring, training and access to platforms to showcase their businesses.

Since 2010, DBS Foundation has partnered with organisations from the public and private sectors to support SEs. This year, the foundation received 300 applications for the programme that includes social impact, business sustainability and innovation as selection criteria.

“Asia’s social enterprise ecosystem is in its infancy and while there is increasing public support, many social entrepreneurs struggle to grow their businesses due to the lack of structured support,” said Euleen Goh, Chairperson of the DBS Foundation.

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Some notable recipients from the tech field are China’s Beijing Baoyi Technology Development and Singapore’s BlueRen.

Beijing Baoyi Technology Development develops software that transforms ordinary smartphones into voice-based mobile phones for the visually impaired.

Meanwhile, BlueRen is a cleantech company that uses a patent-pending technology to convert unsorted plastic waste into high-performance nano-carbon additives.

Other grant recipients are Bettr Barista (Singapore), a barista training programme for disadvantaged youth and women; E&I Food Concept (Singapore), a European cuisine training programme for youths; Shanghai Better Education Development Center (China), an education centre for underprivileged children and Sampurn(e)arth (India) which, employs informal waste collectors to recycle waste.

DBS Foundation also awarded grants to Bodhi Health Education (India), a health education provider for illiterate women; Asher International Eco Health (Taiwan), promoter of natural eco-health aquaculture method; Buy Directly From Farmers (Taiwan), a farmer empowerment movement and Vasham Kosa Sejahtera (Indonesia), an end-to-end solution provider for farmers.

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