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DBS India-Social Alpha to mentor innovators with seed capital

Program for ‘go-to market strategies’

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Program for ‘go-to market strategies’

Social Alpha

DBS Bank India Limited and Social Alpha have announced a strategic partnership on 13 August 2019, aimed at bolstering the growth of social enterprises and supporting innovators through business mentoring and seed capital.

The DBS-Social Alpha program will strengthen the ecosystem for enterprises focusing on the areas of Inclusion, Healthcare and Environment, through a total program grant of Rs.10 million.

Social Alpha (registered as Foundation for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship) is a Technology Business Incubator (TBI), approved by the Department of Science and Technology, and supported by Tata Trusts, that helps create high quality, accessible and affordable solutions through its incubation, accelerator and seed capital programs.

The DBS-Social Alpha Social Entrepreneurship program will focus on providing holistic support to entrepreneurs and equipping them with resources for creating successful go-to market strategies, developing sustainable business models and accelerating their product development efforts.

The shortlisted enterprises are from the current Social Alpha cohort as well as from the pipeline of social ventures supported by DBS over the years.

The three ventures that will be a part of the program over the next year and a half are:

Even Cargo – The award-winning enterprise identifies and trains women from marginalized communities to work towards bridging low female Labour Force Participation Rate in India. It has trained and employed women as delivery personnel for major e-commerce companies in India including Amazon, Flipkart, etc. (http://www.evencargo.in/).

Trust Circle – A mental health care start-up that utilises mobile & AI technology to improve emotional resiliency and well-being for all. It empowers individuals to assess, track, and learn about their emotional well-being, gain access to on-demand online counselling, and community support anytime, anywhere – anonymously. (https://trustcircle.co/).

Incredible Devices – A medical device start-up company with a mission to make healthcare safe and affordable by developing solutions which reduce treatment cost. It intends to develop, patent, and produce medical devices related to underserved markets. The company expects to benefit 36 lakh patients by 2020. (http://incredibledevices.in/).

Speaking about the partnership, DBS Bank India CEO Surojit Shome said, “As a purpose-driven bank, we have an important role to play in the sustainable development of our markets by managing our business in a balanced and responsible way.

“We have been actively supporting social enterprises that address environmental and social issues through innovative and financially sustainable solutions.

“Our endeavor is to help these Businesses for Good to grow their impact in the long term through increasing their enterprise viability. Through the partnership, we will be able to leverage Social Alpha’s expertise in incubating social enterprises, as well as their diverse network. We hope that this helps innovators to maximise their positive impact, while achieving commercial viability,” Shome said.

Elaborating on the partnership, Social Alphar Co-founder & CEO Manoj Kumar said, “At Social Alpha we believe that science and technology-based entrepreneurship has the potential to solve complex social, economic and environmental challenges.

“We nurture the most promising mission driven teams through our business and technology incubation ecosystem and invite investors (CSR, philanthropies, foundations) to support these social enterprises. We often hear start-ups talk about the lack of risk capital, and parallelly, mainstream capital too has reservations on the sustainability of social enterprises.

“Our partnership with DBS Bank India is bridging this gap. We are grateful to DBS’ commitment to enable entrepreneurs who are on a mission to create large scale impact, making their contribution more effective, meaningful and measurable,” said Kumar.

Over the years, DBS has been focused on advancing the sustainability agenda, through responsible banking, responsible business practices and creating social impact.

It was the first bank in Southeast Asia to be included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index Asia-Pacific, and the first Singapore bank to be named as a constituent of the FTSE4Good Global Index. DBS has also been included in the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index for the last two years.

Entrepreneurship is a part of the organisational DNA and DBS in India had earlier partnered with a leading social sciences academic institution from 2012-2017 to provide crucial monetary and non-monetary support to over 40 budding social entrepreneurs.

Last year, as part of DBS Group’s 50-year celebrations over 50 high-potential social entrepreneurs were selected from across core DBS markets for a signature, one-year mentorship program with DBS top management.

The new partnership with Social Alpha will allow DBS to take their commitment to social entrepreneurship forward.

The DBS Foundation was launched in 2014 with a focus on championing social enterprises. The Foundation has nurtured over 300 social enterprises since 2014 who are on the path to scale up and make our world more inclusive, clean and safe. fiinews.com

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