SUTD launches Baby Shark Fund, providing $6,000 to selected micro-innovation teams

24 Jan 2024

Lianhe Zaobao, 24 Jan 2024, 推出幼鲨基金 新科大向入选微创新团队资助6000元​ (translation)
The Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) will provide $6,000 to every student team to support them in their efforts to turn their innovative ideas into reality, helping them move from micro-innovation projects to start-ups.
SUTD issued a statement on January 23, announcing the launch of a "Baby Shark Fund" of $6,000 that each student team can apply and be selected for, to support their micro-innovation project. The funding aims to strengthen student-led innovation, design thinking and risk-taking spirit, and allows students to pursue more advanced innovation projects, which could culminate in the formation of start-ups.
Micro-innovation projects refer to small but mighty changes which can stimulate profound change. The "Baby Shark Fund" is named after an American reality show “Shark Tank”, where entrepreneurs showcase their inventions and obtain investment. It encourages students to incubate new ideas, have the courage to step into fields beyond the classroom, and supplement the school's available funding options.
Professor Chong Tow Chong, President, SUTD, said: “Practically everyone is a micro-innovator. If you have ever created a better way of organising digital files in your office, you have already succeeded in micro-innovation.”
He said: “The school hopes to provide students with bottom-up opportunities through the Baby Shark Fund, inspiring them to experiment continuously and take risks, becoming leaders of innovation for society.”
To apply for the funding, students in SUTD's undergraduate or master's programmes must form teams of at least two people and present their ideas and projects to a panel comprising faculty as well as industry. The panel will evaluate the projects based on the level of innovation and their potential to impact the world.
SUTD student, Aron Lee (23 years old, SUTD Technology Entrepreneurship Programme), is currently working on a project related to food waste. In an interview, he said that Singapore throws away more than 800,000 metric tons of food every year, half of which is fruits and vegetables. “We want to use freeze drying to preserve perishable fruits and create new flavors of smoothies to reduce food waste.”
Aron Lee and four partners started working on this project last year. If they receive the Young Shark Fund, they will be able to proceed with experimentation of the project more smoothly. “This is because the Baby Shark Fund is more flexible than other funds and does not require too many plans. It is more convenient for us to do new experiments. For example, we are trying to add oat milk powder to fruits such as mango, strawberry and banana to develop new flavoured drinks.”
The Baby Shark Fund will open several times throughout the year for students to submit applications, ensuring they have ample opportunities to seek funding for their projects. Each selected team will also be assigned a mentor, and as the project progresses, students will continue to receive venture capital support and resources.