SINGAPORE – Paper that morphs into soap when it touches water was among three winning ideas at an annual youth entrepreneurship competition.

The wafer-thin paper soap sheets in environmentally friendly packaging were invented by team Oreo Crush and Pearls from Ngee Ann Polytechnic and Republic Polytechnic.

The competition was part of the third edition of the River Hongbao Hackathon held at Mapletree Business City in Pasir Panjang on Thursday (Jan 7).

This year’s competition challenged students to create environmentally sustainable or socially conscious business ideas on the theme “forging a brighter future”.

The remaining winning teams were from the National University of Singapore, Singapore University of Technology and Design, Singapore Polytechnic and Eunoia Junior College.

Each team won $2,000 in prize money and $5,000 in seed money to develop and sell their product or service.

Sponsored by Mapletree Investments and supported by the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the competition received a record 45 submissions.

Participating teams comprised students aged between 18 and 29 from 11 local and private tertiary institutions.

Following two virtual workshops by Mapletree’s retail expert on Oct 12 and Nov 2, 10 finalists presented their business ideas on Thursday.

Other winning creations were biodegradable flower pots created by a 3D printer and an affordable science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) education kit.

The organisers are still finalising arrangements for the teams to sell their products or services while complying with Covid-19 safe management measures.

In the last two competitions, the public was given the chance to buy the young entrepreneurs’ wares at the annual River Hongbao, which is the largest Chinese New Year event in Singapore.

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On the efforts of the participants, Mr Tan Aik Hock, chairman of the River Hongbao 2021 organising committee, said: “It has been a challenging year for everyone, but in every cloud there is a silver lining. There are new opportunities to be explored and it is the next generation, our youth, who will carry us forward with their energy, passion and creativity.”





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