SMU IEE announces million-dollar startup competition involving internationally-renowned scholars and business leaders

The Singapore Management University (SMU) Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE) has announced an upcoming four-part Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition (LKYGBPC) Changemakers Conversations which will bring together internationally-renowned and respected scholars and business leaders to discuss and debate issues of contemporary interest and significance, particularly to the start-ups.

This is part of IIE’s continuous efforts to support the government’s research and innovation initiatives to create new growth opportunities for Singapore.

At the same time, it enables IIE to engage the local and international innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E) community in the lead-up to the LKYGBPC Competition Finals Week – BLAZE that will be held in Singapore in March 2021.

The first session of Changemakers Conversations, to be held virtually on 30 September 2020, is titled “Our New Normal”, and will feature a panel of industry leaders. They are Mr Piyush Gupta, Chief Executive Officer and Director of DBS Group, Mr Oliver Tonby, Chairman of McKinsey’s offices in Asia and Senior Partner, and Mr Foo Jixun, Managing Partner, GGV Capital.

Moderated by Professor Gerard George, Dean of SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business, the panellists will focus their discussion on the challenges and opportunities for start-ups arising from the confluence of COVID-19, the looming technology cold-war and the growing impact of “Big Tech” firms.

The other three virtual sessions in the series will be held in October and November this year, and in January 2021.

“Businesses and societies have been profoundly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. With global uncertainty still at an all time high even as countries begin to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, what the ‘New Normal’ means to economies, polities and individuals remain in flux. Many are seeking ideas and leadership on how to navigate, adapt and position for the post-COVID-19 world,” said Professor Lily Kong, President of SMU.

“Through the Changemakers Conversations, SMU aims to provide an important platform that brings together thought leaders, innovators and trailblazers to share their refreshing insights and experience, so as to grow and enrich the intellectual capital of the I&E community through interactive discourse,” she added.

The Changemakers Conversations series follows the LKYGBPC Lite Edition launched on 1 June 2020 for the bright young minds from across the world to develop creative solutions to novel problems that had stricken societies due to COVID-19.

At the close of applications in mid July, over 100 solutions from more than 40 tertiary institutions were submitted to help cities, businesses and communities adapt and thrive during and beyond the pandemic. The Lite Edition of LKYGBPC also marked the start of the Blended Experience.

Winners of the LKYGBPC Lite Edition will be announced during the first session of the Changemakers Conversations series. The winning team will receive prizes worth S$45,000, including an incubation grant of up to S$10,000, test-bedding opportunities and an invitation to BLAZE.

A major segment of the Blended Experience will be Virtual Pitching, where qualifying 10 teams from top 58 LKYGBPC teams will compete for the DBS Foundation Social Impact Prize, which aims to identify sustainable and scalable business solutions that help address crucial social problems and make cities of the future more inclusive, healthier and greener.

The winning team will be awarded a prize worth S$150,000, inclusive of up to S$100,000 prize money, along with non-monetary support such as access to the DBS Foundation network and social enterprise community.

Held from 15 to 19 March 2021, BLAZE – the finals week of the LKYGBPC Competition will host the largest regional VC Office Hours event, featuring prominent venture capitalists with Assets Under Management of over $2 billion under their belts, and the LKYGBPC Grand Finals showcasing the top 58 teams selected from more than 850 applicants across 650 universities worldwide.

At BLAZE, finalists will gain unparalleled access to the movers and shakers in the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem, with programmes including fireside chats and keynote addresses with industry pioneers and trailblazers; Southeast Asia’s biggest congregation of prominent VCs providing Office Hours; BLAZE 29, a by-invite only social mixer for young tech leaders, thinkers, and influencers; hitting a crescendo at the LKYGBPC Grand Finals with S$2 million worth of prizes and growing.

The 10th biennial LKYGBPC was officially launched on 25 July 2019 focusing on the theme ‘Reimagine, Smart, Sustainable and Resilient Cities’. Through the new LKYGBPC Blended Experience, SMU IIE continues to push boundaries on what it means to a changemaker. The ability to pivot quickly, adapt on the fly, and flourish amidst global uncertainty are skills that all businesses will need to remain resilient and agile in a turbulent world.

To find out more about the public events and upcoming activities for the 10th LKYGBPC, click here.

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