Social enterprises get US$112K worth of grants at DBS-NUS event
By Digital News Asia June 15, 2015
- Thai education venture, plus health platforms from India and Taiwan top winners
- SVC Asia 2015 received 683 entries from 30 countries, 60% up from last year
DBS Foundation and NUS Enterprise have announced the winners of the 2015 DBS-NUS Social Venture Challenge Asia (SVC Asia), adding that they would receive grant monies totalling S$150,000 (US$112,000).
SVC Asia is a business plan challenge that aims to identify and support new social ventures that demonstrate scalability and sustainability around the region, the two organisations said in a statement.
Learn Education (pic above) took first place, while MicroX Labs and iHealth Express came in second and third respectively.
Learn Education received S$100,000 in seed funding, while MicroX Labs and iHealth Express received $30,000 and S$20,000 respectively. [S$1 = US$0.74]
The Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise or ‘raISE’ has also awarded special grants to two additional SVC Asia teams: SDI Academy (S$50,000) and Society Staples (S$25,000).
raiSE will also provide advisory services and relevant resources or link-ups to the teams to help them in their journey as social enterprises.
This year’s SVC Asia received 683 entries from 30 countries, a more than 60% increase over entries received last year.
A significant number of entries were focused on areas such as education, healthcare and the environment, showing that social entrepreneurs are becoming more forward thinking and responding to real development needs in the region, DBS Foundation and NUS Enterprise said.
The top three countries in terms of entries were India (229 entries), Singapore (115 entries) and Indonesia (75 entries).
“The increase in participation, diversity and quality of entries this year has been extremely encouraging,” said Karen Ngui, head of DBS Group Strategic Marketing & Communications, and board member of the DBS Foundation.
“Through the course of this competition, we have met many talented individuals who are passionate about making an impact in their respective regional communities.
“In conjunction with Singapore’s jubilee year, the winners this year will receive grant monies totalling S$150,000,” she added.
This is the second year that the SVC Asia has been held, jointly organised by DBS Foundation and NUS Enterprise.
Over the past five months, participants learned how to develop their ideas into scalable and sustainable social ventures through attending workshops, networking events and mentoring sessions.
“We are heartened to see an increasing interest in social ventures, and are delighted that more countries are participating in SVC Asia,” said Professor Wong Poh Kam, director of the NUS Entrepreneurship Centre, which is part of NUS Enterprise.
“We will continue in our outreach activities to raise further awareness and engagement in social entrepreneurship across Asia.”
SVC Asia 2015 winners
Learn Education (Thailand): This social enterprise aims to improve the quality of education, in particular for Maths and Science, within Thailand through its blended-learning technology tools. This includes learning modules, which follow the Thai curriculum, to develop critical thinking skills amongst students; one-to-one learning software with tests and analytics; and implementation processes to connect the software with ‘human-ware.’ Learn Education has rolled out its tools in 30 schools across Thailand.
MicroX Labs (India): India currently lacks timely, accurate and affordable diagnostics, and patients must often wait one to two days before getting blood test results. MicroX Labs addresses this problem by creating a technological platform for effective point-of-care diagnostics, starting with a Complete Blood Count test.
iHealth Express (Taiwan): Although there are 25 medical centres across Taiwan, 80% of them are within the three big cities. This makes it difficult for people, in particular the chronically-ill, elderly or disabled, who live in more remote areas. iHealth Express offers a mobile medical system that aims to eliminate inequality in healthcare delivery across Taiwan.
Social Development Initiative (SDI) Academy: Seeks to champion the welfare of migrant workers (pic below) in Singapore, as well as to create a more inclusive society here, by empowering them with improved communication skills.
Society Staples: This social enterprise is developing a platform to connect people with disabilities (PWDs) and the rest of society through fitness programmes, in particular strength-training sessions and unusual sports such as parkour and cheerleading.
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