SINGAPORE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Three finalists in Singapore were announced today in the Alipay-NUS Enterprise Social Innovation Challenge (“Challenge”), jointly launched by Alipay, the world’s leading payment and lifestyle platform, operated by Ant Financial Services Group (“Ant Financial”), and NUS Enterprise, the entrepreneurial arm of the National University of Singapore (“NUS”). The finalists, SmartPeep, Wika Media and Whizpace, were selected for their ability and potential to leverage digital technology to improve lives.
Launched in November 2018, the Alipay-NUS Enterprise Social Innovation Challenge aims to identify and support the growth of start-ups in Southeast Asia that are using digital technology to build an inclusive society. The finalists will each receive a cash prize of S$10,000 to support their future growth and will proceed to the next stage of the competition. The grand finale, to be held in April, will see the Singapore finalists compete with those from Malaysia and Indonesia for the grand prize of S$50,000.
“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,” said Professor Wong Poh Kam, Senior Director, NUS Entrepreneurship Centre, a division of NUS Enterprise. “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 Southeast Asia. This is why we are bringing together partners from across the region to identify and support the growth of local innovation.”
“Since its inception, the Challenge has received several hundred applications from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, and we are pleased to see so many teams utilizing digital technology in innovative ways to solve some of the biggest societal problems in Southeast 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 Southeast Asia can benefit from their innovations. ”
The finalists from Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia were selected through a rigorous judging process that comprised evaluations based on five criteria: innovation, social impact, market potential, economic model, and the strength of the team.
Contestants from each country demonstrated how they use digital technology to solve challenges across sectors, including financial services, agriculture, health & wellness, education & training, food & beverage, energy & environment, logistics & transportation, and communications.
Details of the Singapore finalists are as follows:
SmartPeep has developed an AI system to help medical professionals closely monitor seniors and patients who are at risk of falling and who suffer from sub-acute and chronic conditions. Its solution enables medical professionals to respond faster in emergency situations, and to better understand the patients' and seniors' health conditions. According to Singapore’s Department of Statistics, the country’s population aged over 65 years increased from 8.7% in 2008 to 13.7 % in 2018. SmartPeep is helping to alleviate the strain on Singapore’s healthcare system in response to its aging population.
Wika Media develops solutions that enable people living with hearing impairment to watch movies, TV shows, and videos, using Wika’s app, smartglass, or set-top box. The solutions can detect what is being said on screen and simultaneously display sign language and captions. According to the World Health Organization, around 466 million people worldwide suffer from disabling hearing loss, and the number is expected to surge to 900 million by 2050.
Whizpace has created a Super Wi-Fi connectivity solution that makes use of TV White Space (TVWS), an underutilized TV spectrum due to the shift from analog broadcast to digital. TVWS has cost and transmission advantages, particularly in rural areas, in comparison to the alternatives of cabling, fibre and microwave link. For example, it can help to better connect smart sensors for farmers to increase their crop yields across a large area and provide broadband internet access for schools and hospitals in remote locations. According to ITU, the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies, nearly half of the world’s population, or 3.7 billion people, still did not have access to the Internet at the end of 2018.
For details of the finalists in Indonesia and Malaysia, visit https://alipaynusseachallenge.com/top-9-grand-finalists/.
In addition to receiving financial rewards to further their businesses’ social impact, the finalists will also receive mentorship and incubation support from NUS Enterprise for a period of three months, as well as access to its BLOCK71, an ecosystem builder and global connector community with co-working spaces in Singapore, Bandung, Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Suzhou and San Francisco.
In addition, the finalists will 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 comprehensive 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.
Operated by Ant Financial Services Group, Alipay is the world’s leading payment and lifestyle platform. Launched in 2004, Alipay currently serves over 1 billion users with its local e-wallets partners. Over the years, Alipay has evolved from a digital wallet to a lifestyle enabler. Users can hail a taxi, book a hotel, buy movie tickets, pay utility bills, make appointments with doctors, or purchase wealth management products directly from within the app. In addition to online payments, Alipay is expanding to in-store offline payments both inside and outside of China. Alipay’s in-store payment service covers over 50 markets across the world, and tax reimbursement via Alipay is supported in 35 markets. Alipay works with over 250 overseas financial institutions and payment solution providers to enable cross-border payments for Chinese travelling overseas and overseas customers who purchase products from Chinese e-commerce sites. Alipay currently supports 27 currencies.
The National University of Singapore (NUS) is Singapore’s flagship university, which offers a global approach to education, research and entrepreneurship, with a focus on Asian perspectives and expertise. We have 17 faculties across three campuses in Singapore, as well as 12 NUS Overseas Colleges across the world. Close to 40,000 students from 100 countries enrich our vibrant and diverse campus community.
Our multidisciplinary and real-world approach to education, research and entrepreneurship enables us to work closely with industry, governments and academia to address crucial and complex issues relevant to Asia and the world. Researchers in our faculties, 29 university-level research institutes, research centres of excellence and corporate labs focus on themes that include energy, environmental and urban sustainability; treatment and prevention of diseases common among Asians; active ageing; advanced materials; as well as risk management and resilience of financial systems. Our latest research focus is on the use of data science, operations research and cybersecurity to support Singapore's Smart Nation initiative.