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Press Release: Meet the 23 New Startups Accepted into SMU Business Innovations Generator's First Cohort of 2021

Thursday Feb 18,2021 | Press Release

Meet the 23 New Startups Accepted into SMU Business Innovations Generator's First Cohort of 2021

Technology enablers and marketplaces remain popular as business ideas for aspiring entrepreneurs

SMU Greenhouse

SINGAPORE, 18 February 2021 - The Business Innovations Generator (BIG) Incubation Programme offered by the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE) at the Singapore Management University (SMU) has unveiled 23 new startups accepted into its first cohort for 2021 at its kick-off event on 8 February 2021 at The Greenhouse, located at SMU’s newest building, SMU Connexion. (Please refer to Annex A for more information about the incubated startups in Jan ‘21 cohort)

43% of the 23 incubated startups were related to B2B and B2C technology. The companies in the new cohort span across services in the sectors such as marketplaces, urban solutions and sustainability, consumer products and tech platforms. Most of them are in the Minimal Viable Product (MVP) and Prototype stage.

"In BIG, it is a safe environment to learn and explore new ideas. The ideas shared and suggestions given by peers and mentors may or may not yield the desired solution to a problem, but the first step is to try it,” said Shirley Wong, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at SMU IIE, during the kick-off event.

“I hope with all the resources given to support the startups, we can help bring their ideas to life, kickstart their business and equip our BIG startup founders with the quintessential tools to realise their dream,” she added.

With a strong founder-centric focus, the BIG incubation programme is highly curated and is designed to provide the startup founders with the support they need to focus on their product development and to reach their development milestones. (More information about the list of support provided to the startups in Annex B)

One of the core programmes organised for incubatees include a series of BIG Masterclasses, which equip the founders with knowledge on topics such as sales strategy, digital marketing, fundraising, understanding term sheets, and Founders’ equity.

“The BIG programme run-through got me really excited; I think it's a very well-structured programme, with masterclasses and mentorship sessions just to name a couple, as part of the comprehensive support infrastructure. I expect to set clear milestones as guided by the Experts-in-Residence and my Account Manager, learn and grow over the next 4 months, attain the milestones and at the same time build a meaningful network through this programme, ” shared Vernice Yap, Founder of newly launched dating app, Lovenn.

Started in 2009, BIG programme is an intensive four-month founder centric programme that offers early-stage startups and student founders the opportunity to validate their business plans, gain access to industry experts as advisors and grant opportunities.

The equity-free incubation programme is industry-agnostic and welcomes startups from a wide range of industries; however, there has been a more deliberate focus on digital and sustainable urban technologies in the recent years. This is in line with IIE’s objective of nurturing future leaders to create meaningful impact on society.

Applicants have to clear three stages in the application journey before they pitch to an intake panel made up of industry experts and IIE’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence. Applications will be assessed based on the viability of their business models, validated market needs and potential, as well as the attributes of the founding team. With a rigorous screening process, founders are assessed based on their coachability, integrity, grit and community-orientation.

With the latest intake, there are currently 286 startups under incubation at IIE.

A number of startups who have graduated from the BIG programme have gained significant achievements. One example is Magorium, founded by SMU student Oh Chu Xian, the startup turns the world's waste plastic into long lasting road additives with their patented technology. They recently emerged as winners in Waste 20/20 and ideasinc 2020.

The incubator will run its next call for applications for pre-seed and seed stage startups in July, applicants can be SMU affiliated or non-SMU affiliated. Startups interested to join the incubator in the next cohort can fill up the interest form at: They will be notified when applications open for the next cohort, and can read up about the application journey from the same link above.

Annex A.pdf

Annex B.pdf

Also see: Video Pitches of BIG Incubatees


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