Communication for Sustainable Development

Asia’s biggest funding opportunity for sustainable solutions offers up to S$1m and more for clean energy & circular economy solutions

Singapore—The Liveability Challenge on 10th January launched a global call for innovative clean energy and circular economy solutions for cities in the tropics, dangling Asia’s biggest prize for sustainability solutions with up to S$1 million in project development funds, as well as exclusive crowdfunding campaigns and mentorship opportunities up for grabs. The global call for submissions will close on 5 April 2019, 11:59pm (GMT+8) Singapore time.

The need for transformative action has never been greater. Humanity only has 12 years to curb its carbon emissions and keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius—or risk an irreversible climate crisis, according to the recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

It’s not game over yet. But beating the 12-year climate deadline and providing better lives for Asia’s growing urban populations will take a drastic reduction in our energy footprint and moving to a circular economy. That’s why The Liveability Challenge aims to close the financing gap between the ideas needed for liveable cities of the future, and the investments that will make these solutions a reality.

The Challenge is presented by Temasek Foundation Ecosperity and organised by Eco-Business, in partnership with Ecosperity Week 2019. A total of 28 partners from business, civil society and government are supporting The Liveability Challenge, almost double the number from 2018.

“To give the world a fighting chance at preventing runaway climate change, humanity must slash emissions by 45 per cent and it is clear that incremental improvements will not be enough. But we believe in the power of human ingenuity and determination, which is why this year’s Challenge aims to tackle two major areas of concern in sustainability—energy and circular economy,” said Ms Jessica Cheam, Managing Editor of Eco-Business.

“With more funding and support this year, the Challenge aims to drive impact and ensure a sustainable future for urban residents in the tropical belt, who are among the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change in the decades to come,” she added.

The launch event at Cool Cats, The NCO Club at South Beach marked the start of The Liveability Challenge 2019’s call for submissions related to clean energy or the circular economy. Proposals submitted must have proof of concept or have achieved Technology Readiness Level 6. Submissions close 5 April 2019, and must be done via the official website of The Liveability Challenge.

Shortlisted finalists will get to pitch their projects to a panel of #Asia’s most sought-after venture capitalists and investors during Ecosperity Week in June. Start-ups, innovators or anyone with an impactful, demonstrable solution will vie for not one but four prizes, including project funds of up to S$1 million from Temasek Foundation Ecosperity, a crowdfunding campaign on private equity investment platform FundedHere, a mentorship opportunity with the Circular Economy Club, and a spot in GoMassive’s accelerator programme.

“The first edition of The Liveability Challenge in 2018 exceeded our expectations by bringing innovators, funders, investors, and the sustainability ecosystem in Singapore and the region closer together. Temasek Foundation Ecosperity played a catalytic role in commercialising the first winning solution, which are the world’s first truly biodegradable straws, as a first step to reduce plastic waste and pollution,” said Mr Lim Hock Chuan, Chief Executive, Temasek Foundation Ecosperity.

He added: “More action is needed as the world seeks to accelerate the transition to a decarbonised and resource-efficient future. Temasek Foundation Ecosperity champions sustainability and liveability. Together with our partners, we hope to get more people on board and help game-changing solutions get the funding and support they need to be commercialised, and in time to come, make a big, positive difference to our collective living environment.”

Representatives from business, civic society and government at the exclusive launch event heard from a high-level line-up of speakers including venture capitalists, investors, sustainability experts and two of Singapore’s most prolific start-ups. They spoke about what it takes for innovative cleantech start-ups to get funded, how climate change is driving transformation in the economy, and why Singapore is the perfect bridge between sustainable solutions and green finance.

Mr Zhaotan Xiao, President Asia Pacific, RWDC Industries and winner of The Liveability Challenge 2018 for his proposal to manufacture the world’s first truly biodegradable straws, said: “The Liveability Challenge is a gathering of like-minded people concerned and passionate about our living environment, and opens doors to key industry players to scale up much-needed solutions. With a solid foundation in research and development, and strong credibility from RWDC’s win at The Liveability Challenge 2018, our straws have quickly been recognised by food & beverage brand names, many of whom have started strategic conversations with us.”

The Liveability Challenge has doubled the number of partners from its first edition in 2018. Partners for 2019 are: 500 Startups, Asian Venture Philanthropy Network, Circular Economy Club, Circulate Capital, Danfoss, Development Innovation Insider, Engie Factory, Enrupt, Envision Digital, Forum for the Future, FundedHere, Global Green Growth Institute, Golden Gate Ventures, GoMassive, Level3, National Environment Agency (Singapore), National University of Singapore, Nordic Innovation House, Olympus Capital Asia, Padang & Co, Ruder Finn, RWDC Industries, SGInnovate, Sindicatum Sustainable Resources, Singapore University of Technology and Design, WI Harper Group, Vertech Capital, and the World Wide Fund for Nature.

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