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Hackathon Uncovers Bright Future Ahead

SIT Telematics Graduates reflect on their win at Startup Weekend Singapore 2020: Tomorrow, and talk about what they’re looking forward to for their future careers

 4 dec 2020
Team LePlants celebrating their win after the competition. From bottom left (clockwise): Mr Nicholas Yan, Mr Macalino Noel Minjoot, Mr Lin Jun Jie, Mr Lim Wee Chin, and Mr Roc Koh.

Back in September 2020, Team LePlants was announced as the grand champions of Startup Weekend Singapore 2020: Tomorrow, a 54-hour Hackathon that spanned from Friday night to Sunday morning. Following the theme of #ProtectEarth, they pitched the idea of a mobile marketplace for community urban farmers, which would solve the problem of a lack of distribution channels for local produce. This would provide famers and consumers a convenient avenue to buy and sell fresh produce and also reduce food wastage resulting from unsold harvests.

For Mr Macalino Noel Minjoot, Mr Lin Jun Jie, Mr Nicholas Yan and Mr Lim Wee Chin, who graduated from SIT’s Telematics programme, this win was totally unexpected and one of their proudest achievements as hackathon first-timers. Mr Minjoot remembers their moment of triumph. “I was literally jumping for joy,” he said. “The win showed me that I can always take that leap of faith and try anything. It enhanced my options and views moving forward.” For Mr Lim, the entire experience was a fun and fruitful journey. “The Hackathon provided an avenue to get in touch with the local startup scene. I have expanded my network and made new friends, and people are very willing to share experiences and knowledge,” he said. This was also how they met their fifth team member, Mr Roc Koh, a Nanyang Technological University (NTU) graduate. Mr Koh had shared a similar idea on the competition’s collaborative workspace, resulting in Mr Minjoot approaching him to join them and work together.

Their pitch was commended by hackathon judge Ms Cheah Sui Ling, Operating Partner at Wavemaker Partners. “I think buying local, leveraging the entire country and community is a really good idea, especially as Singapore is not a place that normally produces our own food,” she said.

At this time, Mr Yan and Mr Lin are working as Software Engineers, Mr Minjoot is a Java Developer, and Mr Lim is a trainee under the Skills Ignition SG programme with Google. Says Mr Yan, “Having won the competition, it has helped put us on the right track, and I can apply soft skills such as business writing and presentation skills in the workplace.” While they are currently pursuing their own personal career paths, they remain open to exploring their business model further in the future.

As the event had to be held virtually, the team had to work extra hard to work together online.

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