Challenges & Opportunities for Entrepreneurs in Sustainability – Singapore and Beyond

Nanyang Technopreneurship Center (NTC) will be organising a forum titled “Challenges & Opportunities for Entrepreneurs in Sustainability – Singapore and Beyond” as part of its alumni engagement. The forum, which will be centred on the theme of Entrepreneurship, Sustainability and the impact on Society, will be held on 26 November 2022 (Saturday) at Amara Singapore.


Click here to register*.

*Open to NTU students and alumni only. Upon registration, an email confirmation will be sent within 5 to 7 working days after we have verified your details.

 

 

Date

26 November 2022 (Saturday)

Time

9.30am - 2.00pm

Venue

Level 3, Ballroom 1
Amara Singapore
165 Tanjong Pagar Rd, Singapore 088539

 
EDM -
     

Programme Outline

Time Programme
9.30am - 10.00am Breakfast
10.00am - 10.10 am Welcome Address
Ms Tan Aik Na, Senior Vice President (Administration), NTU
10.10am – 10.15am Opening Address
Prof Foo Maw Der, Director, Nanyang Technopreneurship Center, NTU
10.15am - 11.20am Panel discussion 1 - Issues & Challenges
11.20am - 11.35am Break
11.35am - 01.00 pm Panel discussion 2 - Opportunities & Implementation
01.00pm - 2.00pm Lunch & Networking

Programme is subject to change

Titles and Synopsis of Talk

Will Venture Backed Agtech Ever Produce Widespread Impact Through Use of Technology? 
According to AgFunder, investment in upstream Agrifoodtech investment in 2021 was USD18 billion, up 20% from 2020. Agtech now covers a huge spectrum of solutions claiming to help change how we do agriculture. With so many Agtech start-ups across such a wide spectrum, feeding 8.5 billion people by 2030 feels like a goal that can be achieved. However, are we rightfully definite optimists — as coined by Peter Thiel — for putting all those investment dollars where they are, or are we indefinite optimists armed with false confidence for solutions that address misguided problems? Chris Fong, co-founder of Fefifo, speaks about how inconsistent understanding and assumptions in the Agtech space could be leading stakeholders to pull in different directions, and what can be a focus returning to basics. 

Chris Fong 
Co-founder,
Fefifo 

Sustainability – Turning Ambitions to Actions 
IBM conducted a CEO study covering over 3,000 CEOs. Over 80% expect sustainability investments to improve business results in the next five years. But knowing isn't doing. 44% of CEOs cite a lack of insights from data as a real problem. 35% say they are uncertain how technology can help manage sustainability. And only 23% say that they are implementing sustainability strategies across their entire organisation. We have observed that the sustainability trailblazers, those making real and meaningful progress, are actually succeeding through clear goals, clear goal setting and outstanding data discipline. 

Praveen Hariharan 
Partner and Sector Leader – ASEAN Industrial & Sustainability 
IBM Consulting 

Building Sustainable Sustainability Ventures 
There is a higher proportion of start-up founders in the sustainability domain who are driven by value, purpose and the noble intent of wanting to do good as compared to other entrepreneurs. However, the lack of focus on sustainable business and revenue models often leads to early failures and the wasting of resources, funds and time. In this session, we explore the challenges faced by impact-focused entrepreneurs, and some possible ways of building sustainable suitability start-ups. 

Edmas Neo 
President, Sustainable Innovation & Investment Global Network 
VP, Mandai Wildlife Group 
Chief of Council, Original Startups Collective 

 

Sustainability in the Food Supply Chain 
Being in the Food Supply Chain business and in the sustainability space, Jiacai has seen how the industry operates and the gap in sustainability. In this talk, he will share about the current state of supply chain, the way it operates and its problems, the impact it has on food waste and resource utilisation and how a future food supply chain should look like. He will also share how TreeDots is building the infrastructure and architecture of supply chain 2.0 to curb the problem of food wastage and others. 

Jiacai Lau  
Co-founder,
TreeDots 

A Place for Sustainable Entrepreneurship in an Age-Old Industry 
In today's world, it has become more than an ethical responsibility for entrepreneurs and businesses alike to pivot practices away from mere capitalism, and towards a more sustainable future. It is becoming more critical for companies to address the gap between knowing and doing by adopting and embracing sustainable business practices. The journey at Mlion Corporation is no different. Steel material which contributes one of the highest carbon emissions has seen little change. As a company, Milion has been challenging itself to find opportunities to create economic and environmental values for being sustainable. Eric will share examples of what Mlion has done to illustrate its journey and challenges.  

Eric Leong 
Chairman & CEO, 
Mlion Corporation Pte Ltd 

Practicing Sustainability – Transitioning to a Circular Economy 
Singapore has committed to building a green and resilient country that is sustainable, climate-resilient, and resource-efficient. Transitioning to a circular and green economy has become a global sustainability agenda. The NTU sustainability framework in NTU 2025 aims to target key sectors including Agriculture & Food, Building & Construction, Energy, Electronics, Water, and Plastics. The aim of Singapore’s circular economy is to build a zero-waste nation. The circular economy is trans-disciplinary in nature and the transition will require multi-stakeholders’ alignment in strategy and action. Dr Lerwen Liu will address the relevance of circular economy to different stakeholders with highlights on opportunities and challenges. In particular, she will exemplify the driving mechanism in accelerating the circular economy transition including policy and financing instruments, technology development, design and business innovation, building a circular supply chain, and knowledge transfer.

Dr Lerwen Liu
Founder, STEAM Platform Director,
NanoGlobe Pte Ltd 

How Digitalisation Helps in Effective Solution Facilitation and Accelerate Decarbonisation
Sustainability is not just about the environment but it could also be a business approach to creating long-term value by taking into consideration how we operate in the ecological, social, and economic environments. At Evercomm, the expertise and experience enable enterprises to achieve sustainable operations by optimising their potential through data-centric technology and provide them with a digital platform to facilitate decarbonisation. In this session, Velan will share about his experience on how Evercomm was built from the ground up, and how the company manages uncertainties, vagueness and challenges. Velan will also discuss how Evercomm created a market and the importance of simple communication.

TS Velan
Director, Energy Partnerships,
Evercomm Singapore Pte Ltd 


 


Our Panel Speakers

Chris Fong

Chris is the co-founder of Fefifo, spearheading co-farming as a new world model to disrupt and democratise the USD 159 billion contract farming industry, with a mission to make sustainable and profitable smallholder farming commonplace.  

After spending over 12 years in corporate technology process re-engineering, risk and controls across multiple financial institutes, Chris left the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) to take up the MSc TIP programme by Nanyang Technopreneurship Center in 2017. Thereafter, Chris tried his hand at two failed start-ups – cofounding “Stablecoin” – a stable cryptocurrency project under Techstars, and “Inno8Trust” to automate greenhouse gas reporting and verification with blockchain under Entrepreneur First. Chris then co-founded Fefifo in 2019 and now happily claims he is a modern farmer.  

In his down time, Chris is a handyman at home, entertains his wife and his two boisterous boys, reads, and dreams about going back to diving one day. 

Chris Fong 
Co-founder 
Fefifo 

 

 

Praveen profile

Praveen Hariharan leads IBM’s Sustainability practice for the ASEAN region and also works in mission-critical global sustainability projects. Praveen is recognised as a thought leader in sustainability and engages with corporates, multilateral agencies, academia and government bodies to create enabling platforms to accelerate the sustainability journey across the ecosystem. He also heads the services business for IBM’s Industrial sector clients across ASEAN. He is a member of the IBM Industry Academy – a vibrant community of IBM's preeminent industry leaders working within and across industry with the end goal of shaping solutions that are future proof. 

Praveen Hariharan 
Partner and Sector Leader – ASEAN Industrial & Sustainability 
IBM Consulting 

 

GenT - Jiacai (1)

Upon graduating in 2016, Jiacai joined professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers as a financial services auditor and fintech associate. Spending time in Germany during his student exchange programme has introduced Jiacai to sustainability and the global issue of food waste.  

Aware of the amount of food waste generated by suppliers, the number of restaurants drowning under the ever-rising cost of ingredients, and the number of families desperate for more affordable ways to shop, Jiacai and his two friends, Tylor and Nicholas, decided to come up with a solution. Their company, TreeDots, lets suppliers sell food at discounted prices to hospitality venues and households via an online platform, handling up to four tonnes of produce daily. 

Jiacai believes in a world that is environmentally friendly and sustainable. As a keen believer in technology, he is determined to leverage on technology to resolve the current environmental issues.

Jiacai Lau  
Co-founder,
TreeDots 

 

eric leong

Eric Leong is the Chairman and CEO for Mlion Corporation Pte Ltd, responsible for the strategic direction and management of the company and its subsidiaries across Asia. Over the past 11 years leading the company, he has brought Mlion to become the leading regional player for foundation solutions and the steel sheet piling market across Asia. 

Mlion Corporation has seen tremendous growth of three times in revenue over the past three years and expects to close the financial year 2022 with record revenues despite the Covid-19 pandemic, supply chain disruption and fluctuating steel prices. He firmly believes in the continuous drive for innovation and will be launching two new solutions – GoListid and GoTagID – later this year.  

Eric was awarded the prestigious EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Industrial Solutions in 2020, and he contributes as a mentor on EY Mentorship programme for aspiring Entrepreneurs worldwide.  

Eric Leong 
Chairman & CEO, 
Mlion Corporation Pte Ltd 

 

lerwen

Dr Lerwen Liu specialises in business development and education in emerging technologies, circular economy, and sustainability. She focuses on strategy, assessment, and support of emerging technologies, including nanotechnology and Artificial Intelligence, with applications in all sectors.  With her 20 years of practice in global business development in strategic partnership and communication, and marketing, Dr Liu bridges government, industry, and academics in developing sustainable solutions to address the challenges that humanity is facing today. She has worked in both developed and developing countries, focusing on youth leadership and entrepreneurship development towards sustainability. 

She is the founding managing director of NanoGlobe, a strategic consultancy on sustainable and emerging technologies. She is currently supporting the Asian Development Bank (ADB) as a Circular Economy Institutional and Business Model Specialist and Consultant Team Leader for the ADB’s Technical Assistance project: PRC Green Circular Economy Zero Waste Cities. She is the founding director of STEAM Platform, which empowers the youths in the developing world to become global leaders in driving the transition towards a sustainable economy. 

Dr Lerwen Liu
Founder, STEAM Platform Director,
NanoGlobe Pte Ltd 

 

edmas

Edmas is the President of Sustainable Innovation and Investment Global Network (SIIGN), a not-for-profit organisation with the mission to build and develop a vibrant sustainability-focused ecosystem of innovators, technological start-ups, professionals, and investors to champion positive environmental impact. He is also currently spearheading digital transformation at Mandai Wildlife Group as VP, Group Transformation Office driving digital transformation with a key role in bridging the start-up ecosystem with the sustainability and biodiversity domain and driving open innovation. 

Since 2014, Edmas has been playing an active ecosystem developer role in the Singapore start-up ecosystem. During his term as Regional Director, SG Innovate, he spearheaded early-stage start-ups acceleration and pioneered corporate innovation initiatives in Singapore. As CEO of Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE) from 2017 to 2020, he had actively promoted Singapore start-up ecosystem and represented over 4,500 Singapore tech start-ups. In addition to expanding ACE to China and Thailand, he had also built a connected start-up ecosystem with 20 cities to create market access opportunities and launched the BACECAMP acceleration programme which had since accelerated over 100 start-ups. 

In 2022, Edmas continued his support for the ecosystem and founded Original Startups Collective (OSC) that focuses on driving the growth of the Web 3.0 borderless start-up community with the goal of aggregating myriad talent, start-ups, investors, and ecosystem builders under a vibrant, borderless OSC Metaverse platform. 

Edmas Neo 
President, Sustainable Innovation & Investment Global Network 
VP, Mandai Wildlife Group 
Chief of Council, Original Startups Collective 

 

Velan_crop
TS Velan is an IT veteran with 25 years of digital transformation experience, and he has successfully transitioned from a corporate fintech environment to being one of the key personnel responsible for driving the rapid growth of a clean tech start-up in Singapore.

Prior to Evercomm, TS Velan worked as a Tech Strategy Consultant with IBM Consulting & Infosys Technologies where he helped several banks across the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa in building digital services as revenue and a cost-optimising opportunity.

His contributions included rolling out Advanced Digital Solutions (ADS) to Singapore SMEs through SME Go-Digital programme under the Resilience Budget 2020. He also provided consultation to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in digital sustainability initiatives like Digital Financial Inclusion, and AI Policy & Governance framework building for Smart Sustainable Cities.

With his own unique experience, Velan strongly believes that it is never too late for anyone to make career transition and he is very passionate in helping others get through this difficult transition. 

TS Velan
Director, Energy Partnerships,Evercomm Singapore Pte Ltd 

Registration

Register by 23 Nov

Contact Us

ntc@ntu.edu.sg

 

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