A million-dollar call for eco-friendly entrepreneurs

A million-dollar challenge has been thrown down to spur entrepreneurs to devise better ideas in waste management and air cooling.

The Liveability Challenge, as it is called, offers the chance for firms to secure funding of up to $1 million for their projects.

It was jointly launched yesterday by Temasek Foundation Ecosperity, a Singapore non-profit body that champions sustainable development, and Eco-Business, a media organisation that advocates environmental and social responsibility.

The Liveability Challenge calls for solutions and inventions from here and abroad. Shortlisted finalists will pitch their projects to a panel of investors during the biennial World Cities Summit here on July 10. Up to six projects stand to win the full $1 million each.

"The Liveability Challenge brings together innovators, funders, investors, platform providers and professionals to build a working ecosystem to make Singapore and the region more liveable," said Mr Lim Hock Chuan, Temasek Foundation Ecosperity chief executive. He defined "liveable" as improving people's standards of living without compromising the environment.

"The funds will bridge the gap between research and commercialisation," said Dr Tan Swee Ching, assistant professor at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the National University of Singapore. "Research needs the funds for real-world testing."

Dr Tan is a researcher who has benefited from a grant by Temasek.

He developed a coating material, which will be launched later this year, that will be the strongest water-absorbing agent on the market.

He will use his grant to fund tests on surfaces in common areas like parks and classrooms. He hopes his work will be used to reduce Singapore's reliance on air-conditioning.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 06, 2018, with the headline 'A million-dollar call for eco-friendly entrepreneurs'. Subscribe