: Sustainability is a team sport: here's why
With so much focus on sustainability, it can be a challenge to weave through the maze. Our Sustainability Gameplan Series breaks it down simply so you can make the right moves.
Capturing opportunities in the multi-billion-dollar green economy can feel like having to dribble though a wall of obstacles.
From product innovation to commercialisation, businesses and startups with a sustainability solution often face a host of hurdles including raising funds and resources for R&D, establishing a track record, and gaining traction.
But here’s one thing that some successful businesses have in common: partnerships.
It’s a key strategy to accelerate your solutions by allowing you to pool expertise and ideas and expand your network. Last year, SC Auto unveiled its first electric bus to be built in Singapore, making the leap from private transport operator to manufacturer – thanks to a strategic partnership with Volvo Buses, which enabled both companies to leverage complementary strengths.
Open new doors
Explore partnerships through the Sustainability Open Innovation Challenge (SOIC). Now in its fifth edition, the challenge was launched to catalyse co-innovation between industry leaders and startups and businesses in the sustainability space.
More than S$3 million has been set aside for the development of innovative solutions through SOIC 2023, the highest to date.
And this year, nearly 30 strategic partners and global corporates such as Japfa and Tata Steel have launched 22 challenge statements in search of solutions across areas including climate change, sustainable agriculture and trade, green buildings and sustainable materials.
They not only present current industry needs, but also provide the scale and expertise to help you take your product to market.
Here’s how businesses have benefitted.
Cuprina: Leapfrogging into wound care
In the search for affordable chronic wound care, this local medtech startup uncovered an unlikely source: bullfrogs.
Every year, some 100 million kilograms of frog flesh and fish are consumed, generating 20 million tonnes of discarded by-products such as fins, scales, and skins. Where most would see waste, Cuprina saw an opportunity to upcycle bullfrog skin into a clinical-grade collagen patch to help chronic wounds, such as those suffered by diabetes patients, heal faster.
Since winning at SOIC 2021, Cuprina has made strides including establishing a pilot-scale manufacturing facility to produce the collagen patch. It’s also currently preparing for testing and is in talks with the National Healthcare Group Cluster to design clinical trial protocols.
Cuprina CEO David Quek says taking part in the challenge was game changing by helping them access new markets and expand the reach of their solutions.
“It has also helped to build our confidence by reducing the developmental risk while connecting us to the right end users for our product.”
Big Tiny: Creating outsized impact for eco-tourism
A series of eco-friendly tiny houses made waves in the news this year.
The houses on Lazarus Island are part of Big Tiny’s first foray into the Singapore market and the result of a partnership between the homegrown firm, Ecosoftt and Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) during SOIC 2021.
The trio had focused on developing sustainable infrastructure solutions on a close-loop waste treatment system and off-grid modular accommodations. The houses, made for short-term stays, thus use solar energy as the main source of power, supported by the grid as a back-up.
Another highlight: the houses are built with sustainable composite building materials produced from recycled plastic and wood fibre. At the end of their lifespan, they can be repurposed into composite cladding for the construction of new, tiny houses.
More than 600 people registered their interest in Tiny Away Escape @ Lazarus Island even before bookings opened. Big Tiny co-founder Dave Ng says: “SOIC provided us with the opportunity to realise our dream in partnership with SDC to bring five of our tiny houses onto Lazarus Island.”
Got a sustainable idea?
Discover partnerships and opportunities to help you grow it at SOIC 2023.
Applications are open till 31 January 2024. Take on the challenge here.