Proposal for online platform that assigns caretakers to the elderly bags $50,000 prize

Mr Huey Nguyen (left) and Mr Tong Nhat Duong at the Create4Good Challenge, which encourages the development of solutions that cultivates a more inclusive and caring Singapore society.
Mr Huey Nguyen (left) and Mr Tong Nhat Duong at the Create4Good Challenge, which encourages the development of solutions that cultivates a more inclusive and caring Singapore society.PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE - A project proposal to develop an online platform that assigns caretakers offering home care services for the elderly has won the university students behind it $50,000 in a research innovations challenge on Friday (May 20).

Team Homage, comprising four students from Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and Singapore Management University (SMU) was the winner among five finalists in the Create4Good Challenge, which is open to the undergraduates of the two universities. Some 22 teams participated in the challenge.

The team's project, called Homage, uses a matching system to pair the elderly with home care professionals that suit their needs.

Family members can schedule, manage, and monitor care visits through a Homage mobile application, and get real-time information on the care their elderly family member is receiving. For the caretakers, the app provides them with information on their clients.

Said Mr Tong Nhat Duong, 25, one of the founders of Homage: "The current process of finding home care services can be stressful for a family, so we want to build a marketplace of trusted care professionals for senior citizens."

Asked how the prize money would benefit the project, he said that his team will be able to "reach out to more customers and build up our platform, which will be fully ready by July".

The challenge, started in 2015 by the late philanthropist Mr Kwek Leng Joo, seeks to bring students from the two universities together to develop "smart, caring" innovation proposals. Mr Kwek, the former deputy chairman of City Developments Limited, had donated $3 million to set up the inaugural initiative. He died in November after suffering from a heart attack.

Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung honoured Mr Kwek's contributions to education at the prize ceremony for the challenge on Friday.

"This initiative (the challenge) encourages the development of innovative solutions to improve lives, promotes sustainable development, and fosters a more caring society in Singapore," he said.

Other winners were also announced at SUTD on Friday. The second place prize went to Team FOM Innovations - comprising three students from SUTD and SMU - for an electric vehicle. The team took home $30,000 to work on the project.