DBS announced on Nov 26 that it has awarded some $9 million in loans and grants to social enterprises (SEs) so far in 2020, making it the largest collective disbursement of loans and grants within a year to SEs since the inception of DBS Foundation.
The foundation was set up in 2014 to champion the growth of social entrepreneurship.
The figure marks an additional $7 million in loans disbursed to SEs this year, up four-fold from 2019, as businesses find themselves hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
DBS says many of the SEs have used the funding provided to create and retain jobs that hire people from disadvantaged communities.
“In the world we’re living in today, companies must not only think about delivering value to shareholders but also consider the interests of the communities they serve. This has really come to the fore amidst Covid-19, which has sparked unprecedented social and economic challenges – yet, these very issues have also heightened opportunities for social enterprises to make a difference, and helped to cement the importance of their role in society,” says Karen Ngui, board member of DBS Foundation.
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In addition, the DBS Foundation says it has awarded some $1.4 million in grant funding to 13 SEs from the bank’s six key markets – Singapore, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia and Taiwan – in the 2020 cycle of its flagship DBS Foundation Social Enterprise Grant Programme.
The awardees were selected from a record 820 applications across Asia – a 30% increase from the 2019 cycle.
The grant funding aims to support the awardees in releasing their social innovations which include leveraging technology to improving accessibility for the elderly and persons with disabilities.
The grant programme’s inaugural ‘Zero Food Waste’ category also releases funding to SEs that contribute towards the United Nations’ global target of reducing food waste.