Giving back to society is always a good thing. Some companies do it through programs embedded in their corporate structure. These are commonly called Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs. Some companies do it a step further and function as a Social Enterprise. Social Enterprises are business entities set up with clear social goals. There are clear management intent and resources allocated to fulfil their social objectives.
There is usually a confusion between a charitable organisation and a social enterprise. A social enterprise is still essentially an enterprise targeting profits whereas a charitable organisation is a non-profit organisation.
In Singapore we have an organisation, raiSE, that was set up in 2015 to develop the social enterprise sector in Singapore. They provide advisory services, programmes, training and resources. They also enable existing social enterprises to grow and become sustainable by providing financing options, capacity building and mentorship.
There are also grants available for Social Enterprises. The Singapore government recognises the importance of Social Enterprises in improving Singapore and thus has made provisions and is encouraging the growth of this sector.
Some of the grants that are available include:
- $100,000 in seed grants under Venture For Good (VFG) by the Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise(raiSE)
- $20,000 grants for expansion to existing social enterprises as an early stage funding for pilot ideas
- $300,000 for social enterprises that train and employ disadvantaged Singaporeans under the ComCare Enterprise Fund (CEF)
- $300,000 to new cooperatives under Central Cooperatives Fund
Corporations like DBS are also aggressively supporting Singapore’s Social Enterprise scene. An example of their efforts is the DBS-NUS Social Venture Challenge Asia, a start-up competition that supports new social ventures in Asia with the potential to generate scalable and sustainable social impact. The total prize money was $60,000 (for the winners). Participants could also benefit from access to boot-camps, networking with mentors and judges – many of whom are impact investors and linkages to overseas partners in regions such as Indonesia, India and the Philippines.
If you are looking to set up a social enterprise to impact society, you will need to incorporate a company to do so. Incorporating and structuring a company in the appropriate structure allows the company access to the many grants and schemes that are available to social enterprises. If you are thinking of starting a Social Enterprise, do contact an experienced ACRA Filing Agent who can advise you accordingly.
The editorial team at Singapore Secretary Services