Eight Grants and Fellowships for Social Entrepreneurs in Asia-Pacific

Sometimes it can be overwhelming to find funding for a social startup. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of some of the grants, awards and fellowships available to social enterpreneurs in Asia and/or the Pacific:


AirAsia Foundation Grants

AirAsia Foundation’s grant-making is aimed at helping social enterprises scale up as a way of empowering communities and enabling them to build sustainable livelihoods.

CONDITIONS: Applicants must be registered and be based in ASEAN, and have at least a two-year business track record. NGOs looking to diversify funding sources through social enterprise are also welcome.


Ashden International Awards

These awards reward innovative projects that play a key role in enabling the delivery of sustainable energy systems and helping build a low-carbon future. In each of their six categories winners can get up to US$20 000.

CONDITIONS: Open to NGOs, government organisations and social enterprises delivering work in at least one of the UN’s developing regions.



Ashoka offer fellowships for entrepreneurs and other opportunities for young changemakers and social innovators. Their fellowship includes a 3-year stipend and mentorship

CONDITIONS: Fellows must be nominated on the basis of the creativity, innovation, entrepreneurial quality, and social impact of their idea. Self-nominations are also welcome.


DBS Social Enterprise Grant Programme

Since 2012, DBS has supported over 100 social enterprises in Asia with grant funding. This programme enables social enterprises to develop a prototype of their idea, or improve/scale up their existing enterprise with a grant of up to SGD 250,000.

CONDITIONS: They offer two grants, one for social enterprises that have been registered for less than 2 years, and one for enterprises that have been registered for 2-4 years. Enterprises must be registered and operating in Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Singapore or Taiwan. See other eligibility criteria here.


Echoing Green

Echoing green offer fellowships for social innovators around the world. They are particularly interested in applications from under represented communities.

CONDITIONS: They offer different grants with different themes and eligibility criteria.


Entrepreneurs’ Organisation Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) for Innovative Student Entrepreneurs

This global competition is aimed at student entrepreneurs who actively run a business.

CONDITIONS: Open to undergraduate students pursuing a bachelor’s degree, who are either owners, founders or controlling shareholders of a company that is at least six months old with generated revenue of US$500 or US$1,000 in investment/backing.



SEED funds innovative ideas for enterprises that have economic, social and environmental benefits. SEED offers each SEED Award Winner US$5,000 and a customised support package consisting of tools, capacity building, profiling and network building, all tailored to their individual needs. 

CONDITIONS: The enterprise must be locally driven in a developing country, have potential for financial sustainability and scale-up and be in the early stages of implementation. Check this year’s eligible countries.


SOW Asia

SOW Asia is a charitable foundation based in Hong Kong that supports enterprises intent on scaling their social and/or environmental impact through financial investments and an accelerator program.

CONDITIONS: Anyone can apply to their accelerator programme, but to obtain investment, the enterprise must have at least 2 years of operation experience, as well as a proven concept and commitment to scaling their impact.