What you can receive:

This year’s edition of the DBS-NUS Social Venture Challenge Asia has specially set aside 6 prizes of SGD20,000 each for the top 6 winning entries in the Enterprise Category.

In addition, thanks to our Sector Champions, there will be additional special prizes:

  • Syngenta Agriculture Social Enterprise Award worth SGD20,000 for the Best Agriculture Social Enterprise with the most innovative business solution and positive, sustainable social impacts.
  • The HEAD Foundation Innovative Social Enterprise Award (Education) worth SGD20,000 for the Social Enterprise team with the best proposed use of technology and innovation for education.

The final 15 teams will also receive the following post-competition support:

  • Certificate of Recognition for their contribution to the social sector
  • Exclusive, facilitated access to the SVCAsia network (comprising of alumni finalist teams, impact partners, mentors, judges, and the SVCAsia 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 SVCAsia, DBS Foundation, NUS Enterprise, partner network events
  • Showcase opportunity on AsiaForGood website
  • Relevant in-kind services/products from our partners (e.g. skilled-volunteer matching)

The top 60 teams (i.e. those who progress to the second judging round), will get exclusive access to facilitated online courses by NUS Enterprise.

Key Dates

17 Apr – 14 May: Application period

Apr to May: Access our online resources and local workshops (in some countries)

19 Jun: Selection of top 60 Enterprises (Selected teams will be notified through e-mail)

14 Aug: Public announcement of Top 15 Enterprises

4 – 22 Sept: Online voting

2 – 4 Oct: Finale in Singapore. Top 15 ENTERPRISE category teams will be flown to Singapore for training, mentoring and networking

Oct 2017 – Mar 2018: Post-competition support for top 15 ENTERPRISE category teams

Judging Criteria:

Enterprise Category

1. Innovativeness of business solution (30%)

  • 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.)

2. Social Impact (25%)

  • 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

3. Market potential (15%)

  • 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

4. Economic & Financial Model (15%)

  • 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

5. Team strength (15%)

  • 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


1. Who is eligible to participate in the Challenge?

SVC Asia is open to anybody and everybody with an innovative idea or 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-profits can participate, however they should propose a new venturing idea or a new plan to transform their existing non-profit operation into a financially more sustainable business.

2. 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. Be it just an idea or a newly started venture, you are welcome to apply. 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.

3. 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 idea or venture meets our eligibility criteria.


Team Formation

1. 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.

2. Can my team include students from different universities and different countries?

Yes, there are no restrictions to team composition.

3. 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.



1. 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.

 2. Do I have to submit a video?

Video submission is optional during the pre-qualification round. However, if your idea/  business solution is selected as one of the top 10 entries/ top 60 entries, you will be required to submit a 2-minute video to showcase your idea/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.

3. Will my video be made public?

Yes, it will be. The top 10/ top 15 entries in the Idea/ Enterprise stage will be posted on the Challenge website (http://socialventurechallenge.asia) and the Asia For Good website (https://www.asiaforgood.com) for a public online voting exercise for the most popular entry.

4. How many entries can one team submit?

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

5. 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.

6. When do I have to submit my application? 

The deadline for the competition is 14th May 2017, 2359 hours (Singapore time).


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

1. 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.

2. 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 svca@nus.edu.sg

Submit your application

Please note that each team is only allowed to submit 1 application, and only to 1 category. Before starting your application, please ensure that you have read our Terms & Conditions.

The submission deadline is 14 May 2017, 2359hrs (Singapore Time UTC +08:00). All created entries must be completed and submitted by this deadline.

If you encounter difficulties creating or submitting an application on Submittable, please contact us at svca@nus.edu.sg