Top Three Singapore Start-Ups Building Inclusive Societies Through Digital Technology Emerge in Alipay-NUS Enterprise Social Innovation Challenge

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 10×1000 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.

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About Alipay

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.

About National University of Singapore (NUS)

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.

For more information on NUS, please visit www.nus.edu.sg.

About NUS Enterprise

NUS Enterprise, the entrepreneurial arm of the National University of
Singapore (NUS), plays a pivotal role in advancing innovation and
entrepreneurship at NUS and beyond. It actively promotes
entrepreneurship and cultivates global mind-sets and talents through the
synergies of experiential entrepreneurial education, active industry
partnerships, holistic entrepreneurship support and catalytic
entrepreneurship outreach. Its initiatives and global connections
support a range of entrepreneurial journeys and foster ecosystem
building in new markets. These initiatives augment and complement the
University’s academic programmes and act as a unique bridge to industry
well beyond Singapore’s shores. For more information, please visit www.enterprise.nus.edu.sg

Contacts

Media Enquires
NUS Enterprise
Carol Lo
+65 6516
1003
carol.lo@nus.edu.sg

Archetype
Faith Ng / Veralyne Tan
+65 6603 9000
alipaysg@archetype.co