Singapore Management University’s (SMU) Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE) announced on Wednesday the Revolutionary 50 (RVLT50) finalists who will present their innovations to a judging panel during the Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition (LKYGBPC) Finals Week, from September 11 to 15, 2023 in Singapore.

Held biennially, the LKYGBPC is one of the largest university-led startup competitions in Asia aims to empower youths through innovation and entrepreneurship to create deep-tech solutions to solve urgent global challenges of the 21st century, SMU said in a statement.

The Expanded RVLT50 – Driving Sustainable Urban Innovation

The 11th LKYGBPC received a record-breaking 1,000 submissions, which represent a 20 percent increase over the 10th LKYGBPC. The rigorous judging process involving 200 international industry experts and thought leaders allowed the team to select only the most exceptional ventures to come to Singapore.

To provide a larger and more diverse pool of innovative ideas and talent, the RVLT50 has been expanded to 55 student finalist teams from around the world. This expansion not only ensures a greater representation of startups, it will also open up more opportunities for connection and collaboration with the vibrant Singapore community and the wider region.

LKYGBPC focuses on five key areas: Urban Solutions and Sustainability; Manufacturing, Trade & Connectivity; Human Health and Potential; Smart Nation and Digital Economy; and Media & Entertainment.

Among these categories, Urban Solutions and Sustainability has the largest representation with 25 out of 55 finalists (45 percent) dedicated to addressing urban challenges and promoting sustainability. A number of these finalists are leveraging cutting-edge technology to drive environmental change, from converting plastic waste into construction materials through circularity solutions to developing next-generation smart windows for energy reduction, and creating resource-efficient materials using bio-based approaches. These examples show how the next generation entrepreneurs actively contribute to environmental preservation by harnessing technology to minimise carbon footprint globally.

Overall, Urban Solutions and Sustainability category also received the highest number of submissions, accounting for 35 percent of the total submissions, followed by Smart Nation and Digital Economy (28 percent) and Human Health and Potential (22 percent).

Other submission highlights

The submissions represent 1,100 universities across 77 countries. Amongst these, about 25 percent were from the top 100 universities such as the ETH Zurich (Switzerland), Harvard University (US), Imperial College London (UK), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US), National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University (Singapore), University Malaya (Malaysia), University of Melbourne (Australia), Tsinghua University (China), and Yonsei University (South Korea).

Of the total submissions, 26 percent came from America, 22 per cent from Southeast Asia, 24 percent from the rest of Asia, 22 percent from Europe, and 6 percent from Oceania.

Commenting on the biennial university startup challenge, LKYGBPC Steering Committee chairperson Shirley Wong said: “As urbanisation and sustainability continue to drive global growth, there is increasing demand for solutions that address the challenges of infrastructure and the environment. We have seen the birth of ideas that have the potential to reshape the urban landscape, and we are excited to see how the finalists will make history as future changemakers and deliver a lasting impact on our society.”

“This year holds a special significance as Singapore celebrates the 100th birth anniversary of our founding Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, whose visionary plan propelled Singapore onto the global stage. The LKYGBPC presents an extraordinary opportunity for the youths and entrepreneurs of Singapore to converge and connect with student innovators from around the world, under one roof,” she added.

BLAZE at LKYBGPC – Empowering youths through live pitches, networking, and mentorship

Two members of each finalist team will travel to Singapore for the much-anticipated BLAZE, held at the Singapore Management University from September 11 to 15. BLAZE is a week-long event bringing inter-generational networking, panel discussions, site visits, and mentorship sessions that form an environment which fosters learning, collaboration, and growth. The event will also open doors to business opportunities in Singapore.

Highlights of BLAZE

The next-generation of trailblazers will be unveiled at the Grand Finals. Open to the public, the event offers a unique opportunity for attendees to witness the talent, expertise and passion of finalists as they pitch to judges in real time to win prizes worth S$2.5 million ($1.87 million).

Singapore-based startups can leverage on VC Office Hours (VCOH), Southeast Asia’s largest gathering of senior venture capitalists (VCs), to accelerate their professional development and grow their ventures. More than 50 senior VCs who collectively manage more than S$2.5 billion ($1.87 million) of assets will be participating.

Changemakers Conversations are thought leadership panel discussions featuring industry experts, tech startups and academia who will address the potential of artificial intelligence and the impact of youth entrepreneurship. The sessions aim to inspire, educate, and equip attendees with the tools and insights necessary to thrive in the dynamic and evolving business landscape.

The Mixer Night is an inclusive event that will gather the LKYGBPC winners and finalists, innovation champions from corporates and government agencies, and Singapore’s youth and entrepreneur communities.

Registration to attend the Grand Finals, VC Office Hours, Changemakers Conversations, and Mixer Night will commence in July 2023.

For the latest information, follow LKYGBPC on LinkedIn.

Visit the official website of LKYGBPC.