Before graduating he started an indoor hydroponic farm; SUTD student wants to help locals grow their own vegetables at home

12 Oct 2021

Lianhe Zaobao, 12 Oct 2021, 毕业前开设室内水耕农场 新科大生要助国人在家种菜​ (translation)
Due to his enthusiasm for agriculture, a Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) graduate started an indoor hydroponics farm with his friends prior to graduating, with the hope of creating a plant growing system that allows Singaporeans to grow their own vegetables at home.
A recent graduate from SUTD's Engineering Product Development pillar in Healthcare Engineering Design, Brandon Yeo (24) has had a strong interest in environmental and sustainable development since young. Five years ago, he came up with the idea of opening an indoor farm.
Brandon revealed that he had started with planting flowers and plants at home and was also teaching his friends how to grow plants. He later decided to set up an indoor hydroponic farm, “Urban Green Dot” with a friend in June last year.
As the company's technology officer, Brandon is responsible for researching farming techniques, such as the research and development of indoor planting systems that can grow vegetables. He openly shared that he faced many challenges while pursuing his first venture, but he knows this is what he wants to do so he will not give up easily.
“All the problems we faced when we first set up the company are worthwhile. I always believe that our team will definitely be able to solve whatever problems we encounter.  Amid many failures, good things can also happen, and it only takes one success to bring you to a higher place.”
Brandon believes that the SUTD education provided him with practical opportunities outside of the classroom. These valuable experiences taught him to apply what he has learned when starting his business.
Looking ahead, his goal is to allow Singaporeans to enjoy home-grown vegetables that are pesticide-free. “I hope to do my best to help everyone successfully plant plants or vegetables at home, so that they can experience the joy of planting."
650 SUTD students graduated this year, including masters and PhD students. More than half of this year’s graduates are female, setting a new high since SUTD started graduating students in 2015. The university has an average of about 40% of female graduates each year, which is much higher than other engineering universities.
Transition from music to engineering, female student worked in national defense research after graduation
Jamie Tan (22), who majored in Engineering Product Development (Robotics) and minored in Artificial Intelligence, is also a recent SUTD graduate. Unlike most engineering students who already have some engineering related knowledge before entering the school, Jamie, who graduated from the music department of the School of the Arts, lacked coding knowledge when she entered the university, and did not know how to operate the machinery in the fabrication laboratory.
Despite that, Jamie was not discouraged and instead studied harder. After being exposed to Python programming in her Freshmore year, she found herself developing an interest in the field.
For Jamie, SUTD has broadened her horizons and made her more aware of the engineering field she wants to specialise in. “I am grateful to SUTD for giving me plenty of opportunities to explore various engineering disciplines, allowing me to further explore my interest in different types of engineering courses.”
In June last year, Jamie had the opportunity to intern at DSO National Laboratories and received a scholarship from the organisation, allowing her to join DSO as a software engineer after graduation. “I hope that through continuous research in the field of defence technology, Singapore's national security will be strengthened...I still have a lot to learn, and every day is a learning opportunity for me."