The SDU was thus formed in January 1984 to provide opportunities for single men and women to interact socially.Another objective of the unit was to encourage public discussion about the perceived problem of the large number of better-educated women remaining unmarried.Since it was first established, SDU's target group was limited to university graduates.
It is organised by two dating agencies - The Dating Loft and Lunch Actually - which received accreditation by the Social Development Unit.
The Social Development Network (SDN), formerly known as "Social Development Unit" (SDU), is a governmental body under the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports of Singapore (now the Ministry of Social and Family Development), which works closely with the community and commercial sectors to foster opportunities for singles to interact in social settings in Singapore.
Besides coordinating and facilitating dating activities offered by the private sector, it also serves to educate the public on singlehood issues.
Other responsibilities of the SDN include providing the necessary infrastructure and support for the dating industry, as well as to ensure the professionalism of dating agencies through an accreditation council that was formed in 2007.
SDN's role in the industry has not always been that of facilitating and accrediting.
When it was first established in 1984 as SDU, it functioned on its own, organising activities for its members without the help of commercial agencies.
It was only in 2006 that the then SDU decided on a major change in approach: it let the private sector be the main provider of matchmaking and dating services, focusing instead on accrediting and funding private dating agencies and projects.
This was done in the hopes of creating a more vibrant dating scene and of allowing singles to have more options to interact with others of different educational levels.
A census conducted in 1980 revealed that a large number of highly educated women were still unmarried, despite being above 40 years of age.