New grant for aspiring social entrepreneurs

SINGAPORE - Have an innovative business idea that addresses a social need in Singapore?

Aspiring social entrepreneurs can now apply for up to $20,000 in grants, as part of a new initiative by the Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise, also known as raiSE.

Previously, only registered social enterprises could apply for the Government's ComCare Enterprise Fund, which has been taken over by raiSE.

They can still do so - social enterprise start-ups can receive up to $100,000 in seed grants, while social enterprises over two years old could get financial help to expand.

The centre, launched in May this year, announced the VentureForGood funding initiatives on Friday at its first Singapore Social Enterprise Conference held at Fusionopolis.

It will launch an accelerator programme in September, to help social enterprises improve their business model and social impact. Four partner organisations will help up to eight raiSE members in this six-month programme.

In addition, raiSE chairman Gautnam Banerjee announced that the application deadline for the President's Challenge Social Enterprise Award this year has been extended by two weeks to Aug 14. He said this was due to an increase in applications - 42 so far, more than the applications in the previous run of the award.

Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin, who was guest of honour, said: "Developing social entrepreneurship is a bold initiative to progressively shift from relying just on charitable relief to creating systemic solutions... I hope that we can continue to generate a strong momentum and a solid platform for the expanding roles of social enterprise to address the societal challenges in Singapore."

For more information on the new initiatives, go to www.raise.sg

goyshiyi@sph.com.sg