The inaugural SUSS Impact Startup Challenge Grand Finale held on 13 October 2021, saw 11 teams, consisting of former and current students, compete for an exclusive chance to win $10,000 from pitching their innovative startup ideas to a panel of esteemed judges, virtually. Made possible by SUSS’ partnership with DBS Foundation, the top three teams were awarded with DBS Foundation Social Impact Prizes totalling S$17,000 in cash to kickstart and develop their businesses.
Screengrab featuring some of the judges and contestants.
The Impact Startup Challenge is an intensive bootcamp where students can come together to solve various problems and create impactful businesses in the process by testing and developing fresh ideas into promising business proposals. Since its conception in July 2017, the Impact Startup Challenge has introduced entrepreneurship to over 600 students across over 10 cities in ASEAN, China and India, and has also developed over 100 validated startup ideas. This Grand Finale aimed to identify innovative impact-driven business ideas, and was open to top teams from the ASEAN-China Impact Startup Challenge and the Impact Startup Challenge in Gerontology, both also organised by SUSS.
11 startups were shortlisted from a total of 18 initial entries and went through four mentorship sessions to refine their presentations before the pitch. During these thorough sessions, some teams went through a complete rebrand of their products while other teams took on expansion plans and outreach efforts into the ASEAN region.
The competing startups plan to solve a range of problems from gerontology and accessible education to sustainability and mental health, with each team hoping to make their own impact on society and the environment.
After a close battle with the top scoring teams, Strong Silvers, a talent matching agency for brands to tap on the silver market with older influencers were crowned champions of the competition. The team consisted of Fardiana Nahar and Zavier Chan, both SUSS Alumni, as well as Junus Eu, a current Part-Time Master of Gerontology student. The team shared their excitement at the win, especially amongst other established businesses, “We are ecstatic that the judges and DBS Foundation are aligned with our vision to empower our seniors to be Content Creators. We look forward to making the silver years golden!”
Strong Silvers achieving first place at the Grand Finale.
Taking home $5,000 prize money as first runner-up was Crunch Cutlery, a startup creating edible cutlery that are both sustainable and nutritious. Third place went to edtech startup, Edsy Bitsy, who is bringing remote learning to rural communities starting with South Africa.
Ms Claire Wong, Head of DBS Foundation said, “The innovative ideas of the students are really inspiring and we hope the DBS Foundation Social Impact Prize will be a catalyst to turn their ideas into businesses with impact that make a difference to the world.”
DBS Foundation will also support our startups along in their entrepreneurial journey with additional resources such as capacity building programmes and access to their network of partners.
Other judges at the event included Mr Jeffrey Seah, Partner (Asia Fund) at Quest Ventures, Mr Kevin Moon, Head of Private Investment at Lonsdale Capital and Mr Mikael Krogh, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Investigate VC.
Mr Seah added, “The participants have demonstrated they can do good, and equally well commercially with their go-to-market operational models. This is heartening to observe as the varied social problems of today can now be addressed with business acumen and fortitude of purpose, relieving the crutch on charity dollars. Besides the three winners, a mention goes out to the dedication demonstrated by the Reach & Richer founders in tackling a ‘blind spot’ problem of any first-world society.”