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Temasek Trust Conversation 2019

How Corporates can Invest in Social Enterprises

How Corporates can Invest in Social Enterprises

(Mr Alfie Othman [left] and Mr Piyush Gupta [right] speaking at the Temasek Trust Conversation 2019.)

In the fireside chat moderated by Mr Alfie Othman, Mr Piyush Gupta highlighted the importance for companies to incorporate doing good into their business in order to address the challenges faced by modern society. There already exists a segment of businesses seeking to alleviate such societal problems — social enterprises.

Social enterprises innovate solutions to emerging social or environmental issues. However, social organisations and charities may be discouraged from giving traditional grants to these enterprises as they may require a longer incubation period and risk. Corporates thus play an important role in advocating and nurturing these enterprises.

By choosing to invest in the right social enterprises and giving them a boost, corporates can support them to be sustainable instead of donor-dependent. Once the business is profitable, the profits are recycled and the social enterprise can then become independent.

Mr Piyush Gupta’s advice to corporates struggling to engage in social good is to adopt a far-sighted view. Many companies view stakeholder value and societal impact to be conflicting conundrums, but if companies are far-sighted, doing good for the shareholders in the long run inherently means the company has to be around in the long term. Therefore, the key to an organisation’s sustenance is serving a real purpose to stakeholders.

Sharing his thoughts on challenges in attracting funding, Mr Piyush Gupta highlighted three areas that will be crucial in convincing investors to think long term. Firstly, as global trends will see long term investors beginning to put Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) concerns on the agenda, it is in the interest of organisations to develop meaning and purpose in their business. Secondly, the leadership boards of these organisations have an active role to play in strategising to protect long term agendas. Lastly, changing the benchmark of organisational success to prioritise social accounting would aid companies in building meaning and purpose.



About Temasek Trust Conversation

Temasek Trust Conversation is one of Asia’s philanthropic-focused conferences to facilitate dialogue and insightful panel discussions among experienced practitioners and thought-leaders on today’s giving landscape. Organised by Temasek Trust, the Temasek Trust Conversation is a signature event held annually to inspire and enable giving.

About the Speakers


Mr Piyush Gupta has been Chief Executive Officer and Director of DBS Group since 2009, transforming it into leading financial services group in Asia.


Mr Alfie Othman was appointed as the CEO of raiSE, Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise in 2015 and is also a Fellow at the Singapore University of Social Science in the area of Financial Inclusion.

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