Singapore, May 11, 2020 – Four local start-ups, founded by Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) students, are doing their part to help the community during this COVID-19 period. These student-led initiatives are amongst a slew of the university’s activities in line with its mission to serve society during this circuit breaker period.
Despite the challenges of social distancing, these four start-ups aim to continue some sense of normalcy in people’s lives. They are introducing initiatives to learn a new skill; cultivate a passion for learning among children; connecting and bonding loved ones through virtual celebrations; and helping people earn a side income while at the same time providing cost savings for SMEs.
Professor Cheong Hee Kiat, President of SUSS, said, “SUSS is proud of our student start-ups. They are spearheading these meaningful initiatives to create positive impact in the society. These students embody the University’s core values and 3Hs (Head, Heart, Habit) philosophy, developing themselves as professionally competent individuals with a passion for community. We hope their meaningful effort will have a ripple effect in encouraging more people to contribute to the community, and we look forward to seeing more such social initiatives.”
The start-ups are namely:
1. COOKI: 29-year-old Ms Anna Lam Yar Kee, is a student from our Alibaba Cloud-SUSS Entrepreneurship Programme and the founder of COOKI. A strong believer that personalised food preparation is an essential life skill for everyone to learn, Ms Lam setup COOKI, to help aspiring home cooks recreate their own heritage dishes for future generations.
During this circuit breaker period, Ms Lam started a COOKI challenge kit, where participants can learn how to cook heritage dishes from food pioneers. Armed with the original recipes, they can further experiment and refine it with their own different ingredients and cooking style to create their own customised dish.
Ms Lam said, “As more people search for things to do during this lockdown period, COOKI aims to fill that void by giving aspiring cooks a meaningful purpose. It is easy to pick an online recipe to cook once or twice, but it is not easy to sustain that passion in the long run. With COOKI Kits, we aspire to teach our customers not just the traditional recipe, but also variations, tips, tricks and fusion techniques for cooks to find their personal flavour. Experimentation is the key to finding your own personal, signature dish.”
2. Nino News: 23-year-old Ms Jenine Koh Jia Hui, is a SUSS full-time Year 3 student from our Bachelor of Early Childhood Education and one of the founders of Nino News, a start-up that innovates news reading for young children. By making news reading fun and engaging, Nino News helps young children develop problem-solving skills, as well as an intrinsic passion for learning.
A recent recipient of the Startup SG Founder Grant by Enterprise Singapore, Ms Koh believes that children should be taught how to think, and not what to think. By covering topics that are not frequently discussed in schools, this helps children discover new knowledge and be empowered to make the world a better place.
Ms Koh said, “With the heightened social distancing, there is a greater emphasis on home based learning. We hope to do our part for the community, by providing free bite-sized relevant news content to engage young children, and at the same time alleviate some of the parents’ stress.”
3. RecomXperience: 25-year-old Mr Lam Yue Ming, is a SUSS final year Business Analytics part-time student and the founder of RecomXperience. His start-up aims to connect and bond people by planning and facilitating customisable occasions such as anniversaries, birthday celebrations, and even dates.
RecomXperience recently started their virtual services with the intention to help people still celebrate important occasions despite the current climate. Through their virtual services, it connects and bonds people with their loved ones by coordinating and providing food, cake, gifts, and facilitating activities during the session.
Mr Lam said, “With the introduction of these virtual services, RecomXperience can help Singaporeans to continue enjoying their special occasion and having fun with their loved ones, friends and family despite the COVID-19 situation. Our service provides an avenue to bond with each other virtually to cope with the lockdown mentally, and serve as a precious memory for keepsake.”
4. Swapie: 27-year-old Mr Koh Kang Liang, is a student from our Alibaba Cloud-SUSS Entrepreneurship Programme and the founder of Swapie, a digital marketplace for credit card rewards optimisation. Consumers with credit cards come onto the platform to be matched with Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). This helps SMEs who have reached their credit limit and forced to use cash for their ad-hoc transactions.
Here is how Swapie works:
- Consumers with credit cards will make purchases on behalf of their commissioned SMEs.
- Consumers will be subsequently paid 99% of the full amount in cash by their respective SMES, enabling the SMEs to save 1%.
- Consumers will earn the card’s 1.2% to 3% rebates
During this COVID-19 period, Swapie will waive all service fees for any transaction completed via their start-up.
Mr Koh said, “In this current landscape, it is key that start-ups and small businesses help one another. Swapie is committed and determined to focus all our efforts and energy to help businesses that are fighting hard against this invisible enemy. We believe that every little bit of cost savings goes towards keeping businesses sustainable.”
SUSS’s initiatives to serve society
Besides the student start-ups, below are some of the University’s initiatives in line with its mission to serve society during this challenging period:
1. Zoom training by SUSS students – A group of SUSS students are volunteering their time as Zoom mentors to conduct free 1-on-1 hands-on training sessions for financial practitioners of the Insurance and Financial Practitioners Association of Singapore (IFPAS). The aim is to educate about 1,000 financial practitioners.
2. Free online courses on SUSS’s UniLEARN platform - Until 31 May 2020, the public will have free access to courses specially curated in the areas of lifestyle wellness, digitalisation and business management. These curated courses were chosen as they are the most relevant skills to address some of the challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic and for one to thrive in this hyper-connected world.
3. SUSS Student Care Fund – SUSS has set up a Student Care Fund to help our students during this challenging period. SUSS students facing sudden or immediate financial hardship, arising from unexpected family and life situations can apply for contingency financial grant from SUSS.
4. Corporate Social Responsibility – SUSS is fundraising for AWWA Senior Community Home, which is operational during this period, with 134 seniors. The stressors faced by these beneficiaries include psycho-social factors, such as severe disruption of routines, shortage of food and medicine, separation from loved ones, social isolation and loss of income. Our faculty and students, together with our industry partner Wen Ken Group (the company that produces Three Legs Cooling Water and other products) also distributed some 200 gift packs and encouragement cards to ICA frontline and medical officers stationed at the Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints in end-February 2020. The initiative aimed to show our appreciation to the unsung heroes guarding the Singapore borders against the COVID-19 virus.
5. Free webinar series to promote well-being for elderly and caregivers – Understanding that senior citizens confined in their homes may feel more isolated and lonely, SUSS, PA and SportSG jointly organised a webinar (27 April – 8 May, 2020) to engage and support them. The webinar includes wellness workshops, exercise classes and talkshows that seniors and their caregivers may enjoy from the comfort of their homes.
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About the Singapore University of Social Sciences
SUSS is a university with a rich heritage in providing lifelong, learner-centric and industry-relevant education. Our mission is to champion lifelong education to develop future thinkers and leaders to their fullest potential through our 3H’s education philosophy – ‘Head’ for professional competency with applied knowledge, ‘Heart’ for social awareness of the needs of the society, and ‘Habit’ for passion towards lifelong learning.
We offer more than 70 undergraduate and graduate programmes, available in full- and part-time study modes which are flexible, modular and multi-faceted in learning experience to cater to both fresh school leavers and adult learners. We also launched a broad range of continuing education and training modular courses for the professional skills and knowledge upgrading of our workforce.
Our programmes and courses are made available through our five schools:
- S R Nathan School of Human Development
- School of Business
- School of Humanities and Behavioural Sciences
- School of Law
- School of Science and Technology
To date, over 30,000 graduates have chosen SUSS as their university of choice. Each year, about 15,000 students are pursuing their full- and part-time studies with us.
From 1 April 2019, the Institute for Adult Learning (IAL) became an autonomous institute of SUSS. Both entities enable a synergistic collaboration as IAL brings to SUSS its expertise and experience in adult learning and Continuing Education and Training (CET), while SUSS provides an ecosystem of resources and experts rooted in academic rigour.
For more information on SUSS, please visit www.suss.edu.sg.