DBS wins President's Challenge award for giving $12.8m to 300 social enterprises in last 6 years

(From left) Bantu's Mr Nicholas Ooi, Samsui Supplies & Services' Mr Ang Kian Peng, DBS Bank's Ms Karen Ngui and Social Enterprise Champion of the Year (Individual) award winner Don Wong.
(From left) Bantu's Mr Nicholas Ooi, Samsui Supplies & Services' Mr Ang Kian Peng, DBS Bank's Ms Karen Ngui and Social Enterprise Champion of the Year (Individual) award winner Don Wong.ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA

SINGAPORE - DBS has won the inaugural Social Enterprise Champion of the Year (Corporation) award, in recognition of the bank giving nearly $12.8 million in support of more than 300 social enterprises since 2014.

The bank, which reaches out to social entrepreneurs through its DBS Foundation arm, was recognised for its efforts by President Halimah Yacob on Thursday (Dec 5).

Held at the Istana, the President's Challenge Social Enterprise Award (PCSEA) seeks to stress the importance of partnerships between corporations and individuals in tackling social issues here, and to date is the only award given to outstanding social enterprises, said the award secretariat in a statement on Thursday.

Samsui Supplies and Services won the Social Enterprise of the Year award with a $70,000 prize for its efforts in training and employing 100 inmates, ex-offenders and persons with disabilities. These beneficiaries prepared more than 1.8 million meals for senior citizens in nursing homes, making a "multi-pronged impact", said PCSEA secretariat.

Meanwhile, Bantu won $50,000 as the Social Enterprise Start-Up of the Year for leveraging technology to collate volunteer data across projects, an innovation that has improved the engagement and retention of volunteers.

Currently in its fifth instalment, this year's PCSEA saw a record total of 61 applications, up from 41 in the previous instalment in 2017.

Another new category, the Social Enterprise Champion of the Year (Individual) award went to Mr Don Wong, who founded the non-profit organisation The New Charis Mission, a halfway house for ex-drug addicts and ex-offenders.

Mr Tan Soo Nan, chairman of the 2019 PCSEA evaluation committee, said being actively involved in social enterprises can help corporations form a clearer social identity.

"The greatest challenge for corporations in the next decade is to have meaning and purpose. A clear purpose ensures that a company goes beyond its products or services, instead focusing on what impact or change the company can make in the largest context possible," he said.