DBS Foundation grant programmes support SME sustainability

Photo by Scott Webb

DBS Foundation has announced the launch of a new grant programme to support small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) looking to kickstart their transition towards becoming more sustainable businesses. The programme is open to SMEs incorporated in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, and Indonesia

This is an extension of DBS Foundation’s ongoing support for social enterprises (SEs), as it endeavours to foster the growth of businesses-for-impact (defined as businesses with dual bottom-lines of profit and impact), regardless of their stage of growth.

This will support innovative sustainability solutions that address at least one of the following areas: reducing energy consumption, reducing waste, or sustainable supply chains. Applicants must demonstrate innovativeness and scalability of the solution, clear plans to integrate sustainability into business operations, and a strong leadership team with demonstrated commitment towards building a sustainable enterprise

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Joyce Tee, Group Head of SME Banking at DBS, and Board Member of DBS Foundation, said: “As the world emerges from the shadow of Covid-19, there is a renewed sense of urgency among SMEs to make a positive impact beyond themselves even as they grow their businesses.

“While our engagement with SME owners has revealed their keen interest in adopting more sustainable business models, they are often caught up with operational matters and may lack the bandwidth or resources to begin.

“This is a gap that the DBS Foundation aims to fill with the new SME Grant Programme, which will help SMEs take their first step towards transforming into businesses for impact.”

DBS Foundation is also continuing its support for the SE sector, with its flagship SE grant programme now in its eighth year. The programme was designed to plug the funding gap for inventive start-ups that are solving critical social and/or environmental issues through their businesses, and empower them to scale up to create deeper impact.

Grant awardees stand to receive up to SGD 250,000, and holistic support to strengthen business foundations and scale growth in areas including capacity-building and mentorship, business and networking opportunities, and awareness-building.

Karen Ngui, Group Head of Strategic Marketing and Communications at DBS, and Board Member of DBS Foundation, said: “Since the inception of DBS Foundation eight years ago, we have helped support over 800 SEs across the region and awarded over SGD 10 million in grants to 93 SEs. Many of these SEs had innovative business models with strong potential for growth, but were impeded by capital and capacity-building gaps. Most of them have evolved from start-ups to steadily growing businesses-for-impact, which is very encouraging to see.

“Businesses are increasingly expected to be a force for good in these post-pandemic times, and with the new DBS Foundation SME grant programme, we hope to encourage and enable more SMEs to take a step forward in their sustainability journey.”

The application window for both grant programmes will commence from 15 April 2022 to 31 May 2022. All applications received before 31 May 2022, 2359 hours (Singapore time, GMT +8) will be evaluated in 2022, and applications received thereafter will be evaluated in the next grant cycle. The announcement of successful grant awardees will be made towards the end of this year.