The DBS-NUS Social Venture Challenge Asia (SVC Asia) is a competition for social enterprises and members of the public from Asia to participate. Organised jointly by DBS Foundation and NUS Enterprise, the Challenge aims to identify and support innovative new ideas as well as existing social ventures that are able to generate positive, scalable and sustainable social impact.
The year is the fourth year of organizing this challenge and over 1,000 entries were being received. The application submission was divided into two different categories.
Idea Category - Applicable for teams that are still validating their ideas trying to build up a minimum viable product or conducting trials to test their concept.
Enterprise Category - Applicable for social ventures that are already generating revenues and wish to expand their operations and impact.
I was there at the grand finale to witness the finalists did a short pitching of their ideas. I must say I'm truly impressed by the brilliant ideas that they've came up with. Like what the host mentioned, to be shortlisted among the 1,000+ entries, these 16 teams are already winners.
We were given a stack of postcards representing the 16 teams and we were encouraged to give our feedbacks, contacts or simply a nice words to drop into their respective boxes during the break time.
I shall now share on the winning teams and what they've came up with that can create a positive social impact to the society.
SVC Asia Enterprise Category Winner
The following six teams took home cash prizes of S$20,000 each from DBS Foundation.
1. ANA by Karma (Hong Kong)
"Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love." this quote by Mother Teresa was requoted during her presentation. This is also one of the teams that I hope will win too. Simply love her style and as she explained ANA by Karma simply means the sisters and brothers coming together to create good karma. ANA by Karma helps to empower Bhutanese women weavers to utilise their talents to achieve financial independence. They help to find how the traditional weaving techniques can appeal to the modern consumer. Thus, coming up with personalized luggage belts for order.
2. Crowde (Indonesia)
A crowdfunding platform for agricultural. This platform connects the poor farmers with retail investors, helping them to raise working capital for their agriculture projects.
3. Haqdarshak Empowerment Solutions (India)
Haqdarshak came out with a mobile app that helps the poor citizens in India to discover and apply for the government and non-government financial schemes that they are entitled to. As many of such schemes can be confusing especially to those living in the rural area who are illiterate, Haqdarshak uses both AI technology and community entrepreneurs to deliver this service.
4. HelpUsGreen (India)
Every year, 80,000 tonnes of waste flowers are dumped into the Ganges river, with pesticides and insecticides from the flowers polluting the water. HelpUsGreen came out with a solution to address this problem through 'flowercycling®'. Those floral waste is collected and turned into organic fertiliser, natural incense and Florafoam®, a biodegradable alternative to plastic. In addition to creating a positive environmental impact, this also provide employment to rural women.
5. Imagtor (Vietnam)
Imagtor helps people with disabilities to have be employable and have their own career by equipping them with skills sets and work opportunities. Quality digital services such as video and photography editing are done by students from Imagtor.
6. TEMU (Indonesia)
TEMU aims to break the cycle of poverty in urban slums by giving those low-skilled workers living in the slums access to job opportunities. Their mobile and web application collects data from employers and matches it with individuals with the right skill sets.
Amongst the six winners, HelpUsGreen also received the 'Judges Choice Award' for its potential sustainable and sociable social impact.
SVC Asia Idea Category Winner
The following two teams received cash prizes of S$5,000 each from DBS Foundation.
1. Evoware (Indonesia)
There's only one Planet Earth yet we human are acting like there's more than one Earth. Plastic waste cannot be recycled and as much as 90% of plastic waste are being dumped into the Ocean. Evoware solution is to develop edible, biodegradable and eco-friendly bioplastics. Cups can now be edible as they are made from seaweed. This is another of my favourite team and I really want to try eating my cups after my drinks.
2. CocoAsenso (The Philippines)
CocoAsenso hopes to make the country's Virgin Coconut Oil industry more efficient by establishing a network of small-scale coconut processing facilities in remote regions in the Philippines. Coconuts are purchased directly from local farmers and process into virgin coconut oil, coconut jerky and desiccated coconut. Farmers are offered fair prices and employment, as well as training and financing to improve crop production.
In addition, SVC Asia corporate partners sponsored cash prizes, as follows:
Syngenta Agriculture Social Enterprise Award
A cash prize of S$20,000 sponsored by Syngenta was awarded to the best agriculture-related social enterprise that demonstrated the most innovative business solution and positive, sustainable social impact. The winning team is Crowde (Indonesia). See description of Crowde under the Enterprise category.
The HEAD Foundation Innovative Social Enterprise Award (Education)
A cash prize of S$20,000 sponsored by The HEAD Foundation was awarded to the social enterprise team with the best proposed use of technology and innovation for education. The winning team is Imagtor (Vietnam). See description of Imagtor under the Enterprise category.
Dell Digital Award
Two cash prizes of S$5,000 each sponsored by Dell were awarded to social enterprise teams that demonstrated the best use of digital technologies to make positive social impact. In addition to cash prizes for the two winning teams, Dell’s senior executives will be investing their time in mentoring them over the course of six months, to help them realise their ambitions through digital technology. The winning teams have demonstrated solutions with high societal impact that can be accelerated with the use of technology:
1) Imagtor (Vietnam) – See description of Imagtor under the Enterprise category. Imagtor’s digital project aims to expand its connected workplace (home office and partner network) with an upgraded IT infrastructure and software.
2) TEMU (Indonesia) – See description of TEMU under the Enterprise category. TEMU’s digital project aims to further improve its application in areas such as security and automation.
Dell also presented laptops to the 16 final teams, which included the Dell XPS 13 and Latitude 5280.
An additional award was given to SLCO Community Resources (Hong Kong), which provides a bilingual language development programme for parents and children who are both deaf and hearing. This team won the AsiaForGood Reader’s Choice Award 2017, based on the highest number of votes by AsiaForGood readers and will receive a full length feature on the website.
On a side note, DBS Bank has always encourage innovations apart from just banking which is why they even have a regional content site at DBSinnovates.com. Very relevant to the SVC Asia today is their sub-page at DBS Innovate For Good. Read an article about this Jasberry rice creator that serves up delicious gluten-free superfood pasta and found out that the social enterprise Siam Organic was actually a winner of the DBS-NUS Social Venture Challenge last year and have received winning of SGD 75,000 in seed funding.
Meanwhile, for more details on the SVC Asia 2017 can be found at