The 2018 Challenge

Applications are now closed for this year’s Challenge.
The winners will be revealed on 18 October.

Your social enterprise is sustainable and impacts communities.
Your idea is innovative and can bring much-desired social change.
Your social impact can change Asia for the better.

The DBS-NUS Social Venture Challenge Asia is back, to propel your ideas & ventures into the limelight they deserve! We're looking for aspiring and early stage entrepreneurs who are passionate and leverage on their innovative business solutions (be it product, service or processes) to solve social issues and create positive and sustainable social impact in Asia.

Over SGD$100,000 in total prize money for top teams

Network with industry experts and impact funders

Join the community of changemakers in Asia

Access resources of leading corporate partners and more!

2018 Timeline


Application Period

2 April - 13 May 2018

Judging Round 1

May - June 2018

Announcement of Shortlisted Teams

17 June 2018

Shortlisted teams will be notified through e-mail.


Judging Round 2

July - August 2018

Announcement of Finalist Teams

20 August 2018

Grand Finale in Singapore

15 - 18 October 2018


Finalist teams will compete for the top prize of SGD$50,000 at the Finale in Singapore. In addition to the top prize, two prizes of SGD$30,000 and SGD$20,000 will be awarded to two other promising social venture teams.
Other special awards:
  • SGD$20,000: The HEAD Foundation Innovative Social Enterprise Award (Education) for the social enterprise with the best proposed use of technology and innovation for education
  • SGD$15,000: Experian Powering Opportunities Award to recognise an innovative social enterprise with the potential to deliver a strong social impact to over 100,000 people
All finalist teams will receive the following benefits and support:
  • 1-day Special Boot-Camp training
  • 1-on-1 Presentation Coaching
  • Certificate of Recognition for their contribution to the social sector
  • Exclusive, facilitated access to the SVC Asia network (comprising of alumni finalist teams, impact partners, mentors, judges, and the SVC Asia steering committee)
  • Mentorship or incubation support by DBS Foundation/ NUS Enterprise or in home country by our Impact Partners (if available, and team must meet partner’s selection criteria)
  • Exclusive invitation to SVC Asia, DBS Foundation, NUS Enterprise, partner network events
  • Relevant in-kind services/products from our partners (e.g. skilled-volunteer matching)
Teams who progress to the second round of judging will get exclusive access to facilitated online courses provided by NUS Enterprise.

Judging Criteria

Innovativeness of business solution

  • Clearly-defined, feasible solution for an identified need/social problem
  • Innovation in product, service, or business model
  • Clear market position and differentiation from competitors
  • Evidence of validation* of the identified need/social problem and solution. (* Evidence of validation is feedback from customers/users/target recipient community which supports your assumption that the identified need/problem exists and your solution meets that need.)

Social impact

  • High-impact social value proposition, be it in depth (extent of problem eliminated) or breadth (reach).
  • Actively engages and works together with community to tackle the social problem
  • Feasible plan to clearly measure and evaluate social impact
  • Social value proposition is aligned with the business model; impact scales as business scales
  • Track record of actual impact achieved
  • Intended social impact is sustainable in the long run

Market potential

  • Viable addressable market size
  • Clear identification of target customers & intended beneficiaries and how to reach them
  • Scalable in terms of geography and solution, or across industries
  • Opportunities and risks have been mapped out with possible mitigations

Economic & financial model

  • Feasible and realistic commercial model and funding plan
  • Realistic financial projections for venture’s operations
  • Realistic road map towards financial sustainability
  • Evidence of consistent revenue generated from your customers

Team strength

  • Members demonstrate entrepreneurial ability to adapt
  • Demonstration of knowledge and understanding of target community
  • Clear identification of key gaps in talent and experience and realistic plan to fill these gaps

Frequently Asked Questions


Who is eligible to participate in the Challenge?

SVC Asia is open to anybody and everybody with an innovative business solution that addresses social issues in Asia, regardless of age and nationality. However, the proposed ventures should be independent entities, i.e. not subsidiaries of an existing corporation or legally-linked to a government entity. Existing non-profit entities can participate only if the entities propose a new venturing idea or a new plan to transform their existing non-profit operations into a financially self-sustaining business which does not rely on philanthropic donations.

In addition, participating or proposed ventures should not have received funding (combining all grants, prize money and equity) in excess of USD$1,000,000 (with the exception of medical device start-ups and other R&D or capital intensive innovations) at the time of application.  The number of years which a participating or proposed venture have been in full operations should be no more than 10 years at the time of application i.e. a registered entity should be registered for less than 10 years at the time of application or the participant have been carrying out groundwork on the proposed solution for less than 10 years at the time of application.

The participating or proposed venture should not have any religious or political agenda/affiliations.

Do I need to have an incorporated business before I can apply to the competition?

No, you do not need to incorporate/register your venture before applying. However do note that in the event you are picked as one of the prize winners, your venture has to be legally incorporated in order to receive the prize money.

If I have applied to the competition in the past, may I reapply?

If you applied for SVC Asia in the past, you are welcome to reapply as long as your business solution or venture meets our eligibility criteria.

Team Formation

Is there a size limit to team formation?

While there is no limit to the number of members you can have on your team, our recommendation is to apply as a team of 3 to 6 members. It is also possible to first apply as an individual, but we encourage you to build a team to realistically help you execute your idea/venture.

May I join more than one team?

You may only be a member of up to two different teams. However this is not advisable as there could be a conflict of interest and could signal a lack of commitment to the judges.


How do I submit my idea?

You will need to create a Submittable account to enter the challenge. If you already have a Submittable account, there is no need to create a new one. Once you open a Submittable account, you would be able to access the questionnaire. You can also save your inputs and continue working on it at a later time. Please click here to go to the application portal.

Do I have to submit a video?

Video submission is optional during the pre-qualification round. However, if your business solution is selected as one of the top 100 entries, you will be required to submit a 2-minute video to showcase your business solution,  the team behind the venture, a working prototype (if you have), or the community you wish to impact. It could be in any form – narration, animation, direct pitch etc. Please contact us should you have any enquiries about the video submission.

Will my video be made public?

Videos of the shortlisted finalists may be posted on the Challenge website and/or the Asia For Good website for a public online voting exercise.

How many entries can one team submit?

Each team should submit only one entry to enable the team’s business solution to be developed to its full potential.

Can my team submit our business plan to another business plan competition?

Yes. However in the event of any win and receipt of prize money, please notify the organisers of the competition.

When do I have to submit my application?

The deadline for the competition has been extended to 13 May 2018, 2359 hours (Singapore time).

Confidentiality of the Business Plan and Protection of Intellectual Property (IP)

Do the organisers sign a confidentiality agreement with the participant?

The organisers do not sign a confidentiality agreement with the participant. Participants can be assured that the organisers of the competition will strictly uphold the integrity of the competition, and our judges and mentors are advised to do the same. The business plan is solely used for judging purpose and the organisers will not disclose it to any third parties except to the judges.  Participants are allowed to describe their business concept without fully disclosing their propriety assets.

Do the organisers retain the rights to my business plan and any IP?

No, the participants retain their rights to their business plans and any IP. In any case, the protection of these rights is the ultimate responsibility of each participant. Participants are urged to mark as “CONFIDENTIAL” on any portion of their entries which they deem to be confidential.

If you have any further questions, please contact us at

Before starting your application, please read our Terms & Conditions.

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