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“Tech with Heart” scheme to empower start-ups with social innovation focus

“Tech with Heart” scheme to empower start-ups with social innovation focus
Portrait of Douglas Foo, Chairman, Sakae Holdings, taken on 28 February 2017. Photo: Rajendran Nadarajan/TODAY

“Tech with Heart” scheme to empower start-ups with social innovation focus

SINGAPORE  Sushi restaurant chain operator Sakae is partnering social tech accelerator - Tech For Good - to empower start-ups to use technology in tackling social issues through its Sakae Foundation. The “Tech with Heart” scheme will focus on addressing issues related to financial inclusion, social inequality, nutrition and education, said the two companies in a joint press release.

The scheme will launch on Monday (May 8), and start-ups will be invited to take part in a social innovation competition scheduled to take place in June. Start-ups will be encouraged to present how they intend to use creative technology to make a meaningful impact on society, according to the invitation.

Up to 10 teams will be chosen for the programme, based on their presentations, which will provide seed funding and mentorship in practical business skills over four months. The winning teams will also receive access to investors and venture capital funds, office space in inspiring environments and public relations support.

“Mobile digital technology has evolved from being a communication device to become a platform whereby information, services and knowledge are shared, making what was meant for the niche now available to the general public at a fraction of the cost. This makes the world that we live in a much more inclusive society,” said Mr Douglas Foo, chairman of Sakae Holdings.

The Sakae group with its network of wholly-owned arms like Sakae Corporate Advisory and Sakae Fintech seeks to build a global business brand.

“We will also be establishing the Sakae Leadership Centre in Singapore aimed being the think tank for the future of work and manufacturing, among other things,” Mr Foo told TODAY. The firm intends to reach out to “budding entrepreneurs with scalable business models” and deepen business and leadership capabilities among the next generation.

According to Ms Kineret Karin, founder of Tech For Good, the Tech for Heart programme will connect the “real needs of the industry and society to unique innovations from bright entrepreneurs.” We will work with the start-ups to ensure they have a strong and sustainable business model, along with meaningful impact on society, Ms Karin added.

Tech For Good works with corporates like Google, LinkedIn and Ernst&Young to access experts, data, IT solutions, mentors and pro bono services. The social tech accelerator focuses on early-stage start-ups to help create a social tech eco-system in Singapore. According to the press statement, it has so far empowered 51 startups in Singapore and globally.