Winners of the first DBS-NUS Social Venture Challenge were announced today at an awards ceremony in Singapore. (Full disclosure: DBS Bank is a client of Social Enterprise Buzz)
Zaya Learning Labs, which has developed a technology-based solution to assist teachers for providing quality education in low-income schools, starting in India, took first place and a S$30,000 cash prize. The solution is a device that acts as a Wi-Fi router, server, storage, and battery pack equipped with a learning management system and teaching content for teachers.
Second place and a S$15,000 cash prize went to Maya Universe Academy, which also focuses on education. Maya Universe Academy is a private school providing free education to low-income communities in Nepal. Parents pay school fees by working on Maya Universe Academy’s farm and making handicrafts to generate revenue.
Bodhi Health Education trains community health workers serving the bottom of the pyramid in India by using highly pictorial software to teach complex medical topics in various regional languages. The lessons are delivered through low-cost tablets and mobile phones.
Local Alike is a community-based tourism (CBT) business in Thailand connecting local communities and travelers. It offers tour packages developed with communities. Using CBT, Local Alike helps communities become self-sustaining, gives travelers authentic experiences, fosters exchanges between the urban and rural, and sets aside funds for improving infrastructure and environmental conversation.
The winners, chosen from seven finalists, were presented their prizes by Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam at the Shaw Foundation Alumni House.
“Our heartiest congratulations go out to Zaya Learning Labs, Maya Universe Academy, Bodhi Health Education and Local Alike, as the inaugural winners of the DBS-NUS Social Venture Challenge Asia,” said Lily Chan, CEO of NUS Enterprise, in a statement.
“They have demonstrated strong potential of turning a concept into a concrete business plan, with actionable steps of generating scalable and sustainable social impact. NUS Enterprise hopes that the winners, together with other participants, will see this competition as just the start of their career as social entrepreneurs who are willing to make a difference in this world.”
The Social Venture Challenge is a regional competition organized by the National University of Singapore in partnership with DBS Bank to identify and support new social ventures working in Asia and beyond. It was first launched in September 2013. Over 400 teams submitted applications from more than 20 countries.
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