Local startups set for regional challenge

  • SMEBiz
  • Monday, 18 Mar 2019

THREE Malaysian startups have been selected as regional finalists in the Alipay-NUS Enterprise Social Innovation Challenge for their innovative waste management solutions.

The finalists, BlueBee Technologies, FatHopes Energy, and Grub Cycle were chosen for their ability to leverage digital technology to create environmentally sustainable solutions that drive positive impact and improve lives.

BlueBee Technologies is the developer of ERTH, an e-waste recycling digital platform that offers competitive prices to buy end-of-life personal electronics from consumers for recycling.

Meanwhile, FatHopes Energy deploys Internet of Things (IoT) devices to automate waste cooking oil collection, and efficiently communicate to collection fleets for pickups and delivery to refineries for production into biofuel, which car owners can buy at a competitive price. The company works with restaurants and F&B outlets for its supply of used cooking oil.

Grub Cycle develops digital platforms that help supermarkets, farms and restaurants reduce food wastage by enabling users to find surplus food from supermarkets and farms at a discounted price.

The competition was launched last November and is jointly organised by Alipay and NUS Enterprise, the entrepreneurial arm of the National University of Singapore. It aims to identify and support the growth of startups in South-East Asia that are using digital technology to build an inclusive society.

During the preliminary rounds, contestants from each country demonstrated how they used digital technology to solve challenges across a wide range of sectors. These include financial services, agriculture, health and wellness, education and training, food and beverage, energy and environment, logistics and transportation, and communications.

The regional finalists will each receive a cash prize of S$10,000 (RM30,000) to support their future growth.

They will also proceed to compete in the grand finale in April where they will face off against other finalists from Singapore and Indonesia for the grand prize of S$50,000.

“Since its inception, the Challenge has received several hundred applications from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, and we are pleased to see so many teams utilising digital technology in innovative ways to solve some of the biggest societal problems in South-East Asia,” said Geoff Jiang, vice president, general manager of Technology and Business Innovation Group at Ant Financial.

“We firmly believe that technology should be used to improve lives and look forward to supporting the future growth of these teams so that more people across South-East Asia can benefit from their innovations,” he added.

The finalists will also be eligible to join the 10x1000 Tech for Inclusion programme, jointly set up by International Financial Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, and Alipay.

The training programme will support the cultivation of 1,000 technology experts in emerging markets from both public and private sectors over the next 10 years.

“Digital technologies have had a profound impact on the global economic landscape. They are spawning new firms and sectors and transforming business models in traditional industries. To ride on the wave of this digital transformation and make sure there are inclusive opportunities to all participants, we need a supportive environment for local innovations to flourish in South-East Asia.

“This is why we are bringing together partners from across the region to identify and support the growth of local innovation,” said Professor Wong Poh Kam, senior director, NUS Entrepreneurship Centre, a division of NUS Enterprise.

The finalists will also receive mentorship and incubation support from NUS Enterprise for a period of three months. They will also enjoy access to its BLOCK71, an ecosystem builder and global connector community with co-working spaces in Singapore, Bandung, Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Suzhou and San Francisco.

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