Have a cool idea for HDB living? Get full funding

Co-funding requirement removed for $600k funding scheme after dismal take-up rate

A contest which began in 2011 to encourage Housing Board residents to create solutions for everyday problems, such as gas hobs with digital timers, is getting a boost.

To help more of such ideas hit the market, the HDB will now fund them in full, announced Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong yesterday. This is after a dismal take-up rate for its co-funding scheme launched two years ago. The $600,000 Cool Ideas Fund provides a grant of up to $10,000 to develop prototypes and test-bed them in HDB estates. But the fund has yet to be disbursed. Of more than 50 competition winners since 2011, only three have applied.

Participants received funding on a dollar-for-dollar matching basis. But the feedback, especially from students and retirees, was that this requirement was too hard to meet, said Mr Wong. "Because we want more ideas to... take off, we will now remove this co-funding requirement," he said at the launch of this year's Cool Ideas exhibition at the HDB Hub.

Eight industry partners, such as 3M Singapore, IBM Singapore and Microsoft Singapore, will also get involved in the Cool Ideas movement.

This year's winners include a team from Temasek Polytechnic, who created a shopping trolley that automatically slows down and stops on slopes.

Team member Jaimee Kee, 20, realised the need for this when accompanying her grandmother on grocery trips. She said: "She's been relying on me to go to the market with her, because she's afraid of the shopping trolley going out of control."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 20, 2016, with the headline 'Have a cool idea for HDB living? Get full funding'. Print Edition | Subscribe