23 youth entrepreneurs from 13 start-ups from Singapore and the region showcase their innovative solutions to address pressing sustainability challenges, at Youth Sustainable Impact Southeast Asia (YSI SEA) and Temasek Foundation’s Virtual Demo Day 2020 on 23 July 2020. The entrepreneurs will pitch to an online audience comprising more than 150 high profile investors, incubators and businesses, in order to secure opportunities to further develop and bring their solutions to the marketplace. The entrepreneurs, who are between the age of 18 and 35, are selected from a field of more than 1,100 applicants to participate in an online five-month-long Innovative Programme since March 2020.

Organised by YSI SEA and supported by Temasek Foundation since 2018, the Innovation Programme is a platform to build capacity among the youths to innovate for sustainability, share fundamental sustainability knowledge to spur sustainable entrepreneurial activity, and enable impactful solutions to grow with tools, networks and opportunities.

This year’s Innovation Programme focuses on sustainable solutions for the circular economy, food and agriculture, and energy. Participants are empowered to tap on not just their own passion but on the community of young people and experienced professionals, to create impact that can drive change for a sustainable future. Among the solutions showcased are solar energy lamps made from recycled plastic bottles, resource and energy efficient precision farming indoors in vertical rows, upcycling plastic waste as eco-building materials, and recycling waste generated from ceremonial offerings in Bali temples into products such as organic incense.

The Innovation Programme, which adopted the online format due to the COVID-19 situation, provides current or aspiring entrepreneurs with the passion in creating tangible societal impact, with educational resources, mentors, access to prototyping facilities, and a vibrant community of young entrepreneurs in Singapore and the region. Participants are exposed to the innovation process, where they collaborated and formed companies, validated and refined their business plans, and overcame technical challenges to scale up potential impact. The Innovation Programme also includes a sustainability curriculum providing participants with a better understanding of the technical, business, societal and environmental aspects related to circular economy, food and agriculture and energy, to help them generate more creative and technically informed solutions. Special topical masterclasses on driving revenue and early impact creation in order to better acquire investors and customers are also conducted.

“We held a belief that young impact entrepreneurs needed a springboard to jump-start their entrepreneurial journey. We are proud of the co-founder relationships forged, the ideas nurtured and actualised, and the impact that our batch will be making in the long run,” said YSI SEA Chief Operating Officer and Co-founder, Irsyad Ramthan.

“Youths have the power to shape the future that they will be living in, and entrepreneurially-minded youths need a helping hand to enable them to thrive and innovate for more sustainable development. Temasek Foundation is happy to support the Innovation Programme and Virtual Demo Day to provide the platform to nurture the next generation of innovators and help them generate impact and inspire many more youths to join in to tackle sustainability issues,” said Mr Lim Hock Chuan, Chief Executive, Temasek Foundation Ecosperity.

The 13 start-ups pitching at the Virtual Demo Day 2020 are as follows:

  • Archi – Converting biomaterial from coffee ground waste and other agricultural waste to consumer products such as cups and mugs
  • Bali Recycle Up – Recycling floral waste into organic incense
  • The Bamboo Company – Aiming to put bamboo in all parts of one's life, from houses to products, from food to furniture
  • Cinemawithoutwall – Creating interactive visual data storytelling for better and faster decision-making, through a multimedia crowdsourcing hub
  • Circular Blueprint – Upcycling plastic wastes into eco-building materials to make housing more affordable, safer and better
  • Datanam – Enabling precision vertical farming that is optimised with data
  • Frescue – Connecting excess food supply with the unmet food demands by redistributing edible but unconsumed food to people and organisations
  • Hidragro – Providing hydroponic and aquaponic solutions along with training and education to farmers to provide healthier, tech-driven ways of growing and consuming food produce
  • Leaf.ly – Using Artificial Intelligence to reduce farm expenses by shortening the waiting time and optimising fertiliser input
  • Light of Hope – Providing clean, renewable energy by incorporating circular economy principles of recycling plastic bottles and using ‘Internet of Things’ for smart monitoring of energy consumption
  • Phytopia – Horizontally integrating the supply chain that connects farmers with agritech and students with affordable and healthier food in the form of a salad bowl
  • Rectyic – Converting plastic waste into functional lifestyle items
  • Solytair – Providing renewable energy powered outdoor cooling systems that help cities and businesses improve the health and well-being of the public on a large scale