Youths showcase their innovation in *SCAPE x Isentia’s ‘Hacking the new normal: Sustainability’ hackathon

The five focus areas were: Food Security, Zero Wastage, CleanTech, Sustainable Urban Planning and Mobility, and Reduced Pressure on Livestock.

Shannon Kuan

Weird talents include playing the violin, but with a ukulele and a clothes hanger.

Published: 29 March 2021, 5:40 PM

In the virtual hackathon ran by *SCAPE and Isentia — Hacking the new normal: Sustainability — on Mar 26, youths had the chance to showcase their ideas to tackle sustainability challenges in different industries.

59 youths were split into 14 teams, each given a different case study and tasked to create profitable yet sustainable solutions.

The teams went through two weeks of masterclasses, brainstorming ideas and receiving guidance from mentors in order to showcase their solutions to encourage sustainability.

Last Friday’s session was the finale, where the top five teams chosen presented their solutions on five focus areas: Food Security, Zero Wastage, CleanTech, Sustainable Urban Planning and Mobility, and Reduced Pressure on Livestock.

At the end of the event, three winning teams were chosen to receive cash prizes.


The judges and mentors for this event came from different industries to provide their insights and even learn more from the youths. PHOTO CREDIT: SCREENSHOT FROM ZOOM


Keynote speaker Mr Desmond Tan, Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment, spoke about the importance of having youth ideas and expertise in the industry.

He said: “(This) hackathon is a good opportunity for us to dive deep into sustainability issues and come up with business plans to tackle these challenges.

“Through such initiatives, *SCAPE seeks to encourage more youths to conceive out-of-the box business solutions… and address the associated key challenges. At the same time, MNCs, SMEs and startups can gain fresh insights from the youths.”


In his speech, Mr Tan shared about the importance of developing sustainability as an engine of growth for Singapore. PHOTO CREDIT: SERGIO SALA VIA UNSPLASH


The five teams then presented their pitches according to their given case study, showing their market research, marketing strategy, business model, and innovative skills. 

Here are the top three winning ideas:

First place - Insect Feed Technologies

Tasked with Reduced Pressure on Livestock, the team consisting of Dillon Toh, Sean Tan and Hashir Gill, were presented with a challenge of coming up with a business plan to ensure better food security and reducing livestock greenhouse gas emissions in the long-term.

Their solution is Insect Feed Technologies, providing sustainable protein for the Aquafeed industry.

As animals need protein for growth but current animal feed sources are unsustainable, Insect Feed Technologies provides an alternative source of protein that requires less land and releases less greenhouse gases — black soldier flies.


Indigenous to Singapore, black soldier flies do not require much land to rear, and cannot bite humans. PHOTO CREDIT: INSECT FEED TECHNOLOGIES


The black soldier fly consumes food waste, emits lower greenhouse gases, and are great sources of protein and fat for animals.

Their solution for significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions for livestock farming earned them first place in the event.

Second place - Urban Origins

The team under Food Security consisted of members Suzanna Tang, Vance Tan and Hua Zhen. They were challenged to ideate a business plan to ensure everyone in Singapore has long-term access to safe and nutritious food at affordable prices.

As a country that imports 90 per cent of its food supply, Singapore is vulnerable to fluctuations in food supply and prices, as well as overseas food safety incidents.

Urban Origins, a platform dedicated to providing brand visibility to local food sources, helps curb that problem.


The platform features geo-tagging of food sources, a carbon footprint tracker, and a recommendation system. PHOTO CREDIT: URBAN ORIGINS


Urban Origins aggregates local urban farm produce, food from agri-food tech companies, up-cycled food and home cooked fresh food, with at least one ingredient that is locally sourced.

Their mission to fortify local food sources for the future of Singaporeans’ food security placed them in second overall.

Third place - CleanTech

Challenged with coming up with a business plan to reduce negative environmental impacts through significant energy efficiency improvements and sustainable use of resources were Kong Qi Herng, Lim Jia Wei, Varden Toh and Teo Kang Qi.

Their solution for CleanTech — EcoPanes, greenifying buildings one pane at a time.


As electricity consumption has been increasing, solar energy is the best renewable source that is environmentally beneficial. PHOTO CREDIT: ECOPANES


EcoPanes consists of a system of modular solar panels and green walls that provide improved energy generation efficiency, as well as environmental benefits, unlike existing commercial solar power solutions.


EcoPanes will be situated on HDBs to power neighbourhoods. PHOTO CREDIT: ECOPANES


How they benefit the community is through reducing noise, increasing power output, cool surrounding temperatures, provide cleaner air, and improve aesthetics.


Through this event, the youths received a chance to showcase their ideas to possible partners and investors, as well as valuable feedback. PHOTO CREDIT: SCREENSHOT FROM ZOOM


While the other two teams — Greendays Consultancy and Carbonytics — did not win the event, they had great ideas to curb e-waste and provide building owners with sustainability insights and solutions respectively; providing the judges with useful insights.

As said by Ms Ivy Lim, Executive Director of *SCAPE: “We have created this program and platform as we believe that ideas and innovations are always needed for sustainable development to progress, and that the ecosystem requires youth voices and ideas to push sustainability in the right direction.”

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