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FINANCIAL SERVICES | Staff Reporter, Singapore
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DBS disburses record $9m in SE loans, grants

It's the bank's largest disbursement of SE loans, grants within a year.

DBS Bank has disbursed a record $9m in loans and grants for social enterprises (SEs) in 2020.

The bank’s foundation arm DBS Foundation has awarded $1.4m in grant funding to 13 SEs from Singapore, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, and Taiwan in the 2020 cycle of its DBS Foundation Social Enterprise Grant Programme.

The 13 SEs were chosen from a record 820 applications across Asia—a 30% increase from the 2019 cycle.

Two of the awardee SEs are Singapore-based: Ento Industries, which aims to address food wastage by expanding opportunities for food by-products, and fintech company Zigway, which has concentrated on helping low-income ASEAN households achieve financial security using technology.

The $1.4m grant succeeded two other SE grant initiatives that DBS Foundation launched earlier in 2020: the DBS Foundation Business Transformation and Improvement Grant, which “sought to enable SEs to retain their workers, create new jobs, or pivot and transform their business models to include new revenue streams”, and the DBS Foundation Social Impact Prize, which was launched in partnership with Singapore Management University as part of the Lee Kuan Yew Global Competition to “to support early-stage startups from across the world that offered sustainable, scalable, and enterprising business solutions that can help make cities of the future healthier, greener, and more inclusive.”

Meanwhile, DBS Bank also rolled out over $7m in loans to cover SE’s working capital needs, a four-fold increase from last year. Through the SE Digital Business Loan launched in May this year alone, the bank was able to disburse more than $1.4m worth of loans.

Other SE loan offerings were also in place. According to DBS: “They include the Social Enterprise Business Loan, aimed at helping SEs to kickstart their businesses with unsecured loans at a preferential interest rate, and the Temporary Bridging Loan, which provides relief assistance to help SEs bridge short-term cash flow gaps in daily operations.”
 

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