Press release: Alipay Teams with NUS Enterprise to Launch Social Innovation Challenge

Monday, November 19, 2018

Alipay, the world’s largest mobile and online payment platform operated by Ant Financial Services Group (“Ant Financial”), and NUS Enterprise, the entrepreneurial arm of the National University of Singapore (“NUS”), today announced the launch of a new initiative to support digital technology innovation throughout Southeast Asia.

The Alipay-NUS Enterprise Social Innovation Challenge aims to identify and support the growth of start-ups in Southeast Asia that are using digital technology to build a more inclusive society. Areas of focus include, but are not limited to, enabling low-income groups to gain access to better educational opportunities, supporting elderly individuals leverage digital technologies to enhance their lifestyle, and helping people with disabilities through upskilling and reskilling initiatives.

“Since Alipay’s inception in 2004, we have been dedicated to using digital technology to bring equal opportunities to the world. In particular, we want to make financial services simple, low-cost and accessible to the many, rather than the few. While the impact of one company may be limited, an ecosystem of partners who stand behind the same vision will be able to achieve much more. We look forward to working with our new partner NUS Enterprise, to identify and support the growth of the most innovative start-ups in Southeast Asia. It is exciting for us to be involved with teams creating lasting impact for their communities and addressing real world problems, such as aging, poverty and lack of access to development opportunities,” said Geoff JIANG, Vice President, General Manager of Technology and Business Innovation Group at Ant Financial.

“We are delighted to partner with Ant Financial and Alipay in this worthy initiative, to seek out the most innovative start-ups involved in developing digital technologies that will build a more inclusive society and a better world for everyone. NUS Enterprise will help these innovators scale their efforts and maximise social impact, through our strong support ecosystem and extensive entrepreneurial networks, which include mentors, impact investors, corporate CSR teams, capacity builders and community partners,” said Professor Wong Poh Kam, Senior Director, NUS Entrepreneurship Centre, a division of NUS Enterprise.

The inaugural Alipay-NUS Enterprise Social Innovation Challenge will take place in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Applicants can participate by registering online at Applications will close in January 2019. The first round of judging will determine the top three winners within each country, who will each receive a cash prize of SGD $10,000. The nine finalists will compete for the top cash prize of SGD $50,000 in the grand finale, to be held in Singapore in March 2019.

The winning teams will not only receive financial rewards to invest toward increasing their social impact, but also receive support to accelerate their growth through networks, mentorship and partnership opportunities with Ant Financial, NUS and other partners in the ecosystem. Top teams will also receive three-month incubation support by NUS Enterprise, as well as access to its BLOCK71 community and co-working space in Singapore, Bandung, Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Suzhou and San Francisco.

A series of workshops and roadshows will be held in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, to build awareness of the challenge, encourage applications and support further growth for the participating teams. Alipay and NUS Enterprise will offer direct access to experts from different parts of the business, alongside other social entrepreneurs and established innovators, who will share their expertise and experiences.

In addition, the winners will become eligible for the 10×1000 Tech for Inclusion programme jointly provided by International Financial Corporation (“IFC”), a member of the World Bank Group, and Alipay. The comprehensive training programme will support the cultivation of 1,000 technology experts in emerging markets from both public and private sectors over the next 10 years. There will also be potential opportunities to work with Ant Financial and Alipay on CSR initiatives.

This latest initiative builds on the work and strategic partnerships that Ant Financial has been carrying out in Southeast Asia. Ant Financial has been sharing its technology capabilities with strategic e-wallet partners such as TrueMoney in Thailand, DANA in Indonesia, GCash in the Philippines and Touch ‘n Go in Malaysia, to enable them to innovate and better service their customers.

“The Alipay-NUS Enterprise Social Innovation Challenge brings together the entrepreneurs, technologists, innovators, educators, investors, mentors and change-makers who are all passionate about building a more inclusive society. It is through such collaborative efforts that we can maximise the benefits of digital technologies, and create a better world for everyone,” said NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye.

Photo courtesy of Steven Lilley.

Source: Press release (link opens in a new window)

social enterprise, startups