And it’s a wrap! Thank you for being a part of the inaugural DBS-NUS Social Venture Challenge Asia.


The inaugural round of the Competition culminated on Friday, June 6th, 2014 at the Awards Ceremony in Singapore. The winners of this competition were announced at the Ceremony and they are –

The winning teams had a strong educational focus. Zaya Learning Labs, which improves teaching quality at low-income schools in India, came first winning a cash prize of 30,000. Maya Universe Academy, the first and only free private school in Nepal where parents “pay” in time rather than cash, came second receiving a cash prize of $15,000. Two teams tied for third place, each taking home $10,000 – Bodhi Health Education, which improves healthcare in India by providing medical education to community workers and Local Alike, which promotes community-based tourism in Thailand with the objective of preserving local cultures and providing additional economic opportunities.

An overwhelming response to the Inaugural Edition


Despite being just the inaugural round of the Challenge, it received an overwhelming response of 418 innovative and impactful entries from nearly  20 countries across Asia. In terms of participants, there were 1186 people who took part in this competition from the region and beyond.

This overwhelming response only shows the growing commitment and passion of individuals to use social enterprises as a means to solve some of the most pressing problems of today. Out of the total entries, close to 60 percent were new ideas while the remaining were early stage start-ups looking to become both scalable and sustainable.

Furthermore, as we all know, over the last few years there has been a surge in the number of innovative ways technology is being used in the social sector, for example mobile money, crowd-funding platforms, MOOCs etc. Therefore it’s no surprise that almost half the entries that we received were in theWeb/Mobile sector. Some of the other well represented industries were education, healthcare and environment. It’s also heartening to see socially impactful ideas from niche industries such as fashion, toursim, arts and F&B.

Check out the complete infographics here.

Building a social entrepreneurship ecosystem in Asia


Over the last 8 months, our work has been driven by our goals to nurture and deepen support to aspiring social entrepreneurs, through workshops, bootcamps, and coaching sessions  – with the ultimate mission of developing a vibrant social impact ecosystem in Asia.

Since the very beginning of the competition, we have held ideation and validation workshops in Singapore and in the region for young and aspiring social entrepreneurs eager to learn about how to do good business. With over 30 on the ground partners in the region (see below) we are commitment to providing mentorship and support to young changemakers commitment to creating positive change.

For our semifinalists, we held a bootcamp in March in Singapore. The teams were flown down and during the three days, they gained access to the resources, mentors and co-conspirators necessary to accelerate their venture. They were equipped with not just the high level strategies but also the nuts and bolts of building a successful social venture.

Here is a short video which paints the journey of the first edition of the DBS-NUS Social Venture Challenge Asia, the beginning of the competition that aims to grow and create greater impact in the years to come.

The Grand Finale

The 7 finalists pitched their social ventures live in front of over 250 guests at the Awards Ceremony of June 6th. The audience included the President of the Republic of Singapore, Dr. Tony Tan as the guest of honour, renowned entrepreneurs such as Sebastien Marot along with impact investors, resource providers, corporates, venture philanthropists, academia and aspiring social entrepreneurs. To see the pictures of the Ceremony click here.

Watch the webcast of the Awards Ceremony to hear the winning social venture ideas and get inspired by renowned social entrepreneur Mr. Sebastien Marot.