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TAKING HEART

DBS awards S$1.25m to 12 social enterprises in Asia

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Social enterprise Yonah seeks to transform healthcare in some of the world's most under-developed regions by tackling challenges in the transportation of critical medicines and vaccines via a cargo drone delivery system.

Singapore

DBS Foundation on Wednesday awarded S$1.25 million to 12 social enterprises in Asia as part of its 2018 Social Enterprise Grant Programme.

The grants - which ranged between S$30,000 and S$250,000 - were awarded to companies in markets such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Indonesia to encourage them to deploy social innovations in areas such as social inclusion, employment and income generation for the marginalised.

Board member of DBS Foundation and DBS's head of group strategic marketing & communications Karen Ngui said: "With the DBS Foundation Social Enterprise Grant Programme in its fourth year, we have been seeing a growing number of young social entrepreneurs across the region creating innovative solutions for sustained social impact. From building apps that help the blind to drones that help transport medicine to far-off places, DBS seeks to support these changemakers on their journey to building a better future for all."

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The first foundation in Singapore dedicated to championing social entrepreneurship, the grants disbursed will help social enterprises scale up their existing business.

One of the winners is Yonah, which is dedicated to transforming healthcare in some of the most under-developed regions in the world by tackling challenges in the transportation of critical medicines and vaccines to rural and inaccessible areas.

"We anticipate that the grant will support us significantly in achieving our vision to transport critical medicines and vaccines to communities in rural and inaccessible areas," said Sim Zhi Min, co-founder of Yonah Private Limited. "Our research and development of a turnkey cargo drone prototype began in early 2017 and this grant will be put into refining our current vehicle prototype to successfully deploy in nations like East Timor and Papua New Guinea in the coming months."

Another social enterprise, TreeDots, aims to reduce food wastage by creating a platform which links food and beverage businesses with unsold food and produce to potential buyers.

Tylor Jong, co-founder of TreeDots, said: "Today, Singapore generates about 809,800 tonnes of food waste and this is set to grow. We started TreeDots to nip food wastage in the bud by redistributing unsold food supplies that are perfectly safe for consumption.

"The grant will help fund the enhancement of our platform and improve efficiency of food distribution, and put us one step closer to our goal to save at least 40 tonnes of food from wastage and reduce 50 tonnes of CO2 emissions due to food saved by the end of this year."