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A first-of-its-kind S$3 million “Create4Good Challenge” for SUTD and SMU students to develop innovative solutions for a more sustainable and caring nation

20 May 2016


Winning team bagged S$50,000 to accelerate their ideas

 
Singapore, 20 May 2016 – In 2015, Mr Kwek Leng Joo, the late Deputy Chairman of City Developments Limited and a strong corporate social responsibility advocate and philanthropist, made a personal donation of S$3 million to the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and the Singapore Management University (SMU) to set up the Create4Good Challenge – the first of its kind in Singapore.
 
The Challenge, which is open to the undergraduates of SUTD and SMU, brings students from the two universities together and integrates their technological and entrepreneurial expertise to create real innovative solutions for a smart and sustainable nation.
 
Mr Kwek Eik Sheng, son of the late Mr Kwek Leng Joo and also Chief Strategy Officer and Head, Asset Management, City Developments Limited, said: “Through the process of collaboration and creation, it is my late father’s hope that our young talents will develop broader perspectives on how they can help realise Singapore’s vision of becoming not just a smart and sustainable nation, but also a caring society. My father firmly believed in empowering youths to lead change and innovation for a better future, and I am sure that he would have been very proud to see the many innovative solutions arising from this inaugural Challenge.”
 
Today at the inaugural Create4Good Challenge Prize Presentation Ceremony at SUTD, Team Homage was announced winner of the Challenge after five months of hard work. Their idea – an online platform to deliver certified care professionals to meet the demand for in-house non-medical care services for the elderly – beat 22 other teams and won over the judges. With Singapore’s ageing population, the judges felt that their idea was very apt and revolutionary, an innovation that could shake up the elderly care industry. Team Homage received the prize money of S$50,000 to form a start-up to commercialise their solution. Mentorship from industry and business executives will be provided along the way.
 
The Challenge will run annually for five years and requires students from both universities to work together in teams of up to seven members. The teams will propose solutions that leverage SUTD’s brand and culture of research innovations that are multidisciplinary and technically grounded, while drawing on SMU’s business expertise and out-of-the-box thinking, to create a positive impact on people and society.  Areas of focus may include, but are not limited to, accessibility for the elderly or physically disabled, education, palliative care and environmental sustainability. With the stipulated timeframe and funds provided, shortlisted teams are expected to push their ideas through from concept to fruition.

SUTD President Professor Thomas Magnanti said: “We are grateful to Mr Kwek Leng Joo for his vision and desire to nurture our youths. His legacy will help spur the development of ideas and innovations for a smarter, more caring society, while his generosity will provide support for young entrepreneurs to take their ideas to market, filling an important gap in today’s start-up ecosystem. By blending SUTD’s focus on technology and design with SMU’s business and management expertise, the two universities’ student teams will be unusually well-positioned to develop creative solutions to pressing problems and issues.”

SMU President Professor Arnoud De Meyer said, “In an increasingly complex world, problems are often multi-faceted, requiring multidisciplinary expertise and approaches to address. This Challenge, created through the generosity and foresight of Mr Kwek Leng Joo, provides a valuable platform for the students of SMU and SUTD to combine their different skillsets and knowledge to develop useful and innovative solutions for society.”

 



About the late Mr Kwek Leng Joo
Apart from being the Deputy Chairman of City Developments Limited (CDL), Mr Kwek Leng Joo has been described as a philanthropist, environmentalist, and above all, a humanist.
 
With over 30 years of track record in property development, Mr Kwek played an important role in championing responsible business practices for long-term sustainability in the industry. For over two decades, his vision to “Conserve as we Construct” has led CDL to be recognised both locally and globally as a leader in green buildings, sustainable development and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
 
As President of the Global Compact Network Singapore and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the National Youth Achievement Award Council, Mr Kwek played an active role in advocating CSR and youth development in Singapore. He believed that responsible business practices not only deliver good financial bottom line, but also strong social and environmental performance which will help lay the foundation for long-term sustainability of the business, the community and the planet. His initiatives such as the youth network within the Compact, the Singapore Young CSR Leaders Award and My Tree House, the World’s First Green Library for Kids, aim to nurture a new generation of civic-minded and eco-conscious champions of tomorrow to drive responsible and sustainable practices in the business world.  
 
Despite his heavy work commitments, Mr Kwek firmly believed in the importance of giving back to society, and always made time to serve the country and the community through his various business and civic appointments. In May 2013, Mr Kwek was appointed Justice of Peace by the President of Singapore. In recognition of his contributions to the community, Mr Kwek was conferred the Outstanding Volunteer Award by the Ministry of Community, Youth and Sports in 2011. He was also awarded Singapore’s highest environmental accolade – the President’s Award for the Environment – in October 2015.
 
A philanthropist, a dedicated volunteer and an avid photographer, Mr Kwek raised over S$3 million from the sale of his photo works and art books for various environmental and charitable causes. In September 2015, Mr Kwek was included in the 9th Forbes Asia’s Heroes of Philanthropy List.