Students push e-payments in business challenge

The DBS mobile app PayLah!.
The DBS mobile app PayLah!.PHOTO: DBS

Singapore's young student entrepreneurs seem to be embracing the move towards a cashless society.

At this year's Digital Business Challenge, about nine in 10 projects from the 23 secondary schools participating in the inter-school social entrepreneurship challenge provided the option of payment through DBS PayLah. They were selling products to raise funds for social enterprises.

Organised by Republic Polytechnic, the entrepreneurship challenge ended yesterday with display booths at Waterway Point, where the students sold items such as personally decorated notebooks and music boxes. The products were also advertised on online platforms like Carousell and Facebook.

This is the first time the 11-year-old challenge - which used to be called the National Pushcart Challenge - has offered e-commerce and e-payment elements.

Last Sunday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in his National Day Rally speech that Singapore is lagging behind many cities in going cashless. As part of efforts to become a smart nation and embrace digital payments, thousands of pupils from 19 primary schools became part of a programme this month which allows them to use smartwatches to make cashless payments in their schools and at selected stores.

At yesterday's event, Senior Minister of State for Communication and Information, and Education Janil Puthucheary, who was the guest of honour, said that about 10 per cent of the transactions made at the booths were done with a QR code using DBS Paylah.

Mr Stanley Kwek, a lecturer from the polytechnic's Diploma in Social Enterprise Management, noted: "The young people are spreading the awareness and building the connection with social enterprises and the digital realm since they are already quite savvy."

  • 10% Percentage of transactions on the final day of this year's Digital Business Challenge that were cashless.

Unity Secondary School student Rachel Ho, 14, said: "We had our products shot with professional lighting and background to put on Carousell, so that more people will be attracted to buy."

The school won Best Online Branding - an award introduced this year - for the professional display of their products in the online space.

Touching on comments that some may become victims of a digital divide, Dr Janil added that he did not think that lower-income groups necessarily have difficulty going cashless, noting that many use cashless ez-link payments regardless of income group. "I think we need to (encourage people to go cashless) in a way that doesn't stereotype, automatically exclude, or make the assumption that people cannot get involved."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 28, 2017, with the headline 'Students push e-payments in business challenge'. Print Edition | Subscribe