Programme will run from June to August 2022
Can leverage private investors’ capital, resources 
Quest Ventures and the Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise, raiSE, has launched Asia’s first VC-backed accelerator programme to provide financial and non-financial support to seed-stage startups in the sustainable impact sector.
In a statement, the VC firm said under this programme, socially impactful enterprises can leverage private investors’ capital and resources to supercharge their growth and impact beyond existing markets.
Slated to run from June to August 2022, the Sustainable Impact Accelerator combines the expertise of raiSE and Quest Ventures to support socially impactful enterprises with high potential in scaling up their businesses and impact, it said.
These companies should have proven revenues, an enthusiastic user base, and clear intent or track record to integrate human-centred social impact, while also demonstrating potential for double-digit year-on-year growth within the next five years, Quest said.
Senior minister and coordinating minister for social policies, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, said the accelerator as a key initiative that will establish stronger capabilities in the social enterprise ecosystem in Singapore. 
He said the need for businesses to mainstream business responsibility, going beyond corporate social responsibility (CSR) to make it an integral part of operations, investor mindset, and stakeholder engagement. 
“More companies are recognising that they are less likely to do well in the long run if they shortchange the future,” said Tharman, who added that shareholders too are beginning to see social and environmental impact as a value creator rather than a cost centre.
James Tan, managing partner of Quest Ventures, said startups will receive funding and capability support to drive their next stage of growth, and gain exposure to investors across key cities in Asia as they work towards raising an institutional investment round in the next 12 months. 
“ESG and impact investing are not new concepts in Singapore and the region, but there is still plenty of room for growth.
“With the growing appetite for sustainable investments, the accelerator programme will benefit both investors and start-ups in tackling important social issues and gaps,” said James.
Starting with the premise that strong mentorship is a good ignition point, eligible startups and businesses will undergo a proven and time-tested accelerator programme designed by Quest Ventures and raiSE.
They will also receive a pool of ‘Family Benefits’, the largest such programme in Asia to provide technologies and tools that would help them scale their businesses and impact, both companies said.
Quest said participants will also gain access to both Quest Ventures’ and raiSE’s diverse network of mentors, entrepreneurs-in-residence, and founders.
“This partnership is extremely timely as we observe more startups using their businesses as a vehicle to address not just market gaps but also social gaps.” said Alfie Othman, chief executive officer of raiSE.
“Navigating the social impact space may not be easy and that is why raiSE is here to build capacity in impact creation and measurement,” he added. 
raiSE’s support for social enterprises as first funder provides the startups with patient capital, thus giving them the necessary runway to validate their social impact and accelerate their businesses to gain traction. 
Mint Lim, founder of School of Concepts, said, through raiSE’s capacity building programme, the company was able to identify a better framework for reaching out to beneficiaries, learnt how to fine-tune and measure its social impact in a clearer manner, and received insights into how investors think and how to pitch to them.
“When potential investors know that we are an investee of raiSE, it gives them more confidence that we are a sustainable business with validated social impact, and having that endorsement was critical for us.
“The accelerator programme by Quest Ventures and raiSE will undoubtedly help other socially impactful enterprises to grow and positively impact more people,” she said.
Applications for the Sustainable Impact Accelerator are now open. Learn more at www.quest.ventures/sia.

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