Full grants to turn 'Cool Ideas' for HDB living into reality

SINGAPORE - Winners of the Housing Board's annual competition for innovative ideas will now get more help to develop and test prototypes.

They will no longer have to fork out their own money to receive a matching grant, and they will be able to tap on the expertise of industry players.

The Cool Ideas for Better HDB Living competition has been running since 2011. In 2014, the $600,000 Cool Ideas Fund was launched to help winners of the competition take their ideas further.

It provides a grant of up to $10,000 for each feasible proposal, to be used for developing prototypes and test-bedding them in actual HDB estates.

But the fund has yet to be disbursed. Of more than 50 winners since 2011, only three applied for the fund.

Previously, participants could only receive funding on a dollar-for-dollar matching basis.

The feedback, especially from participants such as students and retirees, was that this requirement was too hard to meet, noted Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong on Saturday (Nov 19).

"Because we want more ideas to reach prototyping stage and take off, we will now remove this co-funding requirement," he announced at the launch of this year's Cool Ideas exhibition at the HDB Hub atrium.

Eight industry partners will also get involved in the Cool Ideas movement, from judging competitions to mentoring teams with promising ideas that could be commercialised.

These include companies such as 3M Singapore, IBM Singapore and Microsoft Singapore, as well as organisations such as the Singapore Furniture Industries Council.