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Disadvantaged youths join design and marketing competition, present innovative concepts for Singapore

9 September 2016 – A total of 18 disadvantaged and at-risk student beneficiaries of HOPE worldwide Singapore (HOPEwwS), a local charity, and 27 other Normal (Academic) and Normal (Technical) students presented today, in teams, innovative concepts for people in Singapore at the National Design and Marketing Competition (NDMC) 2016 held at The Meeting Place @ JTC Launchpad.

The competition was organized by DesignLab, a social enterprise and was supported by SPRING Singapore, WDA, SAP, Microsoft, Siemens, Pokka and HOPEwwS.

The winning team from Hong Kah Secondary School showcased KenTri, a tri-spoke rehabilitative tool specifically for people with hand movement disability. It helps to improve their cardiovascular system as well as enhance their hand and eyes coordination.

Some of the other ideas that HOPEwwS beneficiaries presented at the competition included: a memory pen for seniors to record and play back memory bytes as gentle reminder; and a keylight for car owners to speak into their car keys to remind them of their carpark lot numbers.

“Into the 4th year of the National Design and Marketing Competition, our youths continue to amaze us with their creativity and ingenuity to conceptualise and market their ideas for social change. With this year’s participation of disadvantaged youths, we see them display the same vigour and intellectual rigour, while adding greater diversity to our youth outreach,” said Elite Wee, Director, DesignLab.

The HOPEwwS beneficiaries were among the 34 students under the Hope for Youth Skill Empowerment initiative sponsored by SAP, the market leader in enterprise application software. SAP donated S$80,000 and 25 refurbished laptops to HOPEwwS earlier this year as part of its CSR initiative to improve the lives of disadvantaged and at-risk youths through digital literacy and entrepreneurship skills trainings.

Prior to the competition, the youths attended a six-month long youth entrepreneurship skills programme by DesignLab. This programme allowed the youths to gain knowledge and skills in developing business ideas and presentation skills, and also enhance their creativity and self-confidence. The competition is the culmination of the entrepreneurship training and was judged by entrepreneurs and business leaders.

“This entire journey has shown us that youths from disadvantaged backgrounds, given the right support, can create ideas for social change. I believe that the students have grown not only in entrepreneurial skills but even in character. We are deeply appreciative of SAP’s support to give these students the opportunity for self-discovery and to realise their untapped potential,” said Joyce Tan, Country Director and CEO, HOPE worldwide Singapore.

Dhevendra, aged 15, a HOPEwwS beneficiary and part of the winning team said: “This competition helped me to think creatively and out of the box. The solid edge software we used helped me to have better understanding of Design & Technology and apply it in school.”

In recent years, the government has been building a Smart Nation by harnessing technology to the fullest with the aim of improving the lives of the citizens, creating more opportunities and building stronger communities. Earlier this year, it also launched the Entrepreneur First Singapore initiative as a push towards an innovation-led and value-creating economy. This competition is an ideal platform to translate the capabilities and new ideas generated by these youths into commercial solutions.

“SAP is proud to be part of this meaningful project that promotes digital literacy to help the world run better and to also improve people’s lives. Social entrepreneurs have a vital role to play in the local community as they can have the ability to identify and respond in an innovative way to social needs. This is also in line with the government’s push towards becoming the world’s first Smart Nation,” said Mr Darren Rushworth, Managing Director of SAP Singapore, who was one of the judges at the competition.

“We believe that youths are innovation drivers and will become the next generation of global leaders. By encouraging them to be bold and equipping them with the entrepreneurial skill-sets, we can watch the next generation do incredible things and create a future that is unimaginable today,” Mr Rushworth added.