The Mapletree Challenge 2020 Grand Final: Six Teams from SIT Presented Entrepreneurial Ideas for Sustainable Innovations in Industry-Supported Challenge


Clockwise from top left: Push It, Don’t Trash It; Team Paste Pods; Senses Blue; VECO; Care-turistics; Lapis Bikes.

Mapletree Investments Pte Ltd (“Mapletree” or “the Group”) and Singapore Institute of Technology (“SIT”) successfully concluded the second edition of The Mapletree Challenge Grand Final via vodcast. Team Paste Pods, a group of four Year 2 Hospitality Business students, impressed the judges with their innovative and environmentally-friendly toothpaste packaging proposal and emerged champions among the six finalist teams from SIT.

This year’s Challenge with the theme, Reimagining Sustainability for Improving Our World, benefitted close to 750 SIT students, equipping them with job interview and presentation skills. Supported by Mapletree and spanning seven months from October 2019 to April 2020, the Challenge also provided students with a platform to pitch their entrepreneurial ideas on the theme. More information about The Mapletree Challenge is detailed in Annex 1.

The 44 teams, comprising a total of 152 participants, submitted their entries to vie for the Mapletree Gold, Mapletree Silver and Mapletree Bronze awards, which included cash prizes of S$5,000, S$3,000 and S$2,000 respectively, on top of the opportunity to prototype their innovations. Apart from access to industry mentors, each of the six finalist teams were coached by a professional corporate trainer and a communications mentor. For the Challenge, participants were invited to develop robust concepts based on design-thinking methodologies, and propose products, practices or services to positively impact the community. The judges looked out for elements of desirability, functionality, marketability and sustainability of the innovative concepts presented, as well as the finalists’ presentation skills.

Among some of the ideas presented were innovations that introduce an efficient recycling system for use in hotel rooms, a water-efficient toilet flushing system, tiles that convert footsteps into energy and data, a feminine hygiene product made of eco-friendly materials, as well as an alteration to the bicycle manufacturing process using sustainable practices. The judges were impressed by the teams’ creativity and impactful presentations which demonstrated their focus to implement concepts that allow business and sustainability to coexist. The full list of winners is in Annex 2.

Professor Tan Thiam Soon, President, SIT said, “As Singapore’s university of applied learning, we create an environment where our students can apply the theories they have acquired to solve real-world problems with practical solutions. I am heartened that Mapletree and our industry friends continue to lend their support and mentorship despite the challenges posed by COVID-19. Our students have benefitted from their mentorship and sharpened their business acumen. With the increased awareness on the need to incorporate sustainable practices into businesses and our daily lives, The Mapletree Challenge continues to be an important platform in preparing our students beyond academic pursuits.”

Mr Edmund Cheng, Mapletree’s Chairman said, “We were impressed with the entrepreneurial and creative solutions presented by SIT students in The Mapletree Challenge last year and are pleased to continue our support for the second year. The Challenge not only provides the SIT students with useful skills that they can apply after they graduate, it is also a platform for them to shape their ideas into authentic and marketable plans. In times of this pandemic period, we are heartened that the students stay resilient and motivated to bring forward their innovative ideas.”

Annex 1

The Mapletree Challenge in its entirety comprises the following components:

Job Interview & Presentation Masterclasses (September to November 2019): Two sets of masterclasses focused on helping students refine job interview skills and personal branding, with the workshops directed by leading corporate trainers.

The Mapletree Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (12 March 2020): Panel discussion which focused on entrepreneurship, innovation and sustainability, featuring Mr Mandeep Chopra, Founder and Managing Director, Limited Edition; Ms Nichol Ng, Owner and Managing Director, FoodXervices Inc; Mr Prashant Dadlani, Founder and CEO, blu; Mr Uantchern Loh, CEO, Black Sun Asia Pacific; with moderator, Assistant Professor Victor Cole, Centre for Communication Skills, SIT.

Mentoring Masterclasses (20 March to July 2020): Coaching sessions on entrepreneurship and innovation and professional communication, which honed students’ entrepreneurial ideas, persuasive pitching and presentation skills.

The Grand Final (23 July 2020): Six competing student project teams presented entrepreneurial ideas for sustainable innovations, in a 10 to 15-minute presentation through vodcast submissions, to a panel of experts. The full list of prizes is in Annex 2, and the panel of judges is in Annex 3.

Annex 2

List of winners:


Winning Team & Members

Mapletree Gold

(S$5,000 cash)


Team Paste Pods

To reduce the carbon footprint of the hospitality industry and eliminate single-use plastic toothpaste tubes prevalently used in hotels, Team Paste Pods proposed the use of seaweed abstracts as an alternative packaging. Innovative and environmentally friendly, Paste Pods is bio-degradable, edible, simple and convenient to be used. The low-cost packaging made of seaweed abstracts will also allow hotels to reduce overall cost.

Team members:

  • Ivan Low, Hospitality Business, Year 2
  • Aylmer Tan, Hospitality Business, Year 2
  • Rachelle Lim, Hospitality Business, Year 2
  • Teo Pei Ling, Hospitality Business, Year 2


Mapletree Silver (S$3,000 cash)


Push It, Don’t Trash It

Hotel room attendants often have to cope with housekeeping duties in short turnaround time. As a result, they may not efficiently sort out rubbish that could potentially be recycled. The team proposed a set of innovative solutions to help hotels implement an effective recycling system, which includes an innovative room attendant trolley that allows for an efficient compartmentalisation of trash, a segregated waste bin for each guest room, along with an instruction card to encourage guests on waste separation.

Team members:

  • Marcus Chew Choon Yong, Hospitality Business, Year 2
  • Jocelyn Goh Wen Min, Hospitality Business, Year 2
  • Lee Jia Shing, Hospitality Business, Year 2


Mapletree Bronze (S$2,000 cash)


Senses Blue

This water efficiency system aims to eliminate water wastage in public restrooms, where users tend to commit “double/first flushing”, a redundant practice of flushing the toilet bowl before usage. The innovation also aims to improve restroom hygiene standards by integrating the antiseptic detergents with every flush. The technology, made up of both hardware and software aspects, takes into account the PH level of the standing water. Sensors and dispensers are to be installed in the toilet bowl, and a software programme will process the PH level readings to categorise if the water is “clean” or “dirty”. This will then allow the system to inform the user via an attached screen, who will then have a choice to select a non-flush or a half-flush, if the water is clean. A full flush will be activated if the standing water is found to be dirty. Antiseptic detergent will also be dispensed together with each flush to help eliminate bacteria.

The innovative idea was developed in close consultation with SIT’s industry partner Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, who provided feedback on the issue of redundant first/double-flushing.

Team members:

  • Yam Shien Hui, Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering (Building Services), Year 2
  • Tan Wei Kiat Nicholas, Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering (Building Services), Year 2
  • Shannyn Tay Wei Lin, Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering (Building Services), Year 2
  • Teo Hwee Kee, Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering (Building Services), Year 2


Consolation Prizes

(S$1,000 cash for each team)


Hotels have been found to top in energy consumption across various building types. To mitigate this, the team proposed for hotels to incorporate an existing tile technology system that converts patrons’ footsteps into energy and data. To be installed in high footfall areas such as hotels’ lobbies and function room foyers, the system could offset part of the hotels’ energy consumption. The innovation also proposes for an integration of Bluetooth connectivity to register event delegates seamlessly, eliminating the use of tickets and time required for registration. With customisable shapes, colours and textures to suit the hotels’ interiors, the tiles can help hotels reduce overall fossil fuel energy consumption, enhance data collection, and improve brand image through corporate social responsibility.

Team members:

  • Felicia Tan, Hospitality Business, Year 2
  • Charmaine Tan WanYi, Hospitality Business, Year 2
  • Valerie Lim Hui Na, Hospitality Business, Year 2
  • Louisa Leung Jia Qi, Hospitality Business, Year 2


Lapis Bikes

Carbon fibre bicycle frame is sought after due to its light weight and ability to absorb vibration. However, the downside is its high cost. The Lapis Bike proposes an alteration to the manufacturing process by using 3D-printed moulds and inserts. The production and R&D costs can be reduced without compromising the structural integrity of the carbon fibre bicycle. Moulds can be melted back and subsequently reused for another new mould. The result is a bike frame made of carbon fibre, coupled with 3D-printed sandwiched structure, created from the stainable 3D-printed mould.

Team members:

  • Zulhusni Jumat, Mechanical Engineering, Year 1
  • Muhammad Hilmi bin Hut, Mechanical Engineering, Year 1
  • Pang Yong Xun, Mechanical Engineering, Year 1



VECO aims to offer an eco-friendly solution to the ecological impact caused by disposable feminine sanitary napkins. The sustainable innovation improves on the current sanitary napkins available in the market by incorporating organic and hypoallergenic materials that are made from waste cotton loom, as well as biodegradable and anti-bacterial sources. VECO is made of two components - a refillable absorbent insert and a reusable holder. It is 100% plastic-free and made from organic materials.

Team members:

  • Belicia Choong, Hospitality Business, Year 2
  • Kok Ee Lim, Hospitality Business, Year 2


Each team will receive the medals and certificates at a prize-giving ceremony, which will be held later this year.

Annex 3

Panel of judges: 


Mr Eddie Chau, Founder & Chairman, Neeuro

Serial entrepreneur Mr Eddie Chau was conferred IT Leader of the Year by SCS in 2018. In 2008, Mr Chau formed Brandtology, a leader in business and online brand intelligence services with more than 300 professionals in 15 countries, supporting clients globally across multiple countries and languages. Mr Chau also successfully founded and incubated e-Cop in 2000, which became a market leader in cybersecurity. In 2011, Mr Chau co-founded V-Key, a cutting-edge patented technology that makes all mobile applications more secure. In 2012, Mr Chau co-founded TNF Ventures with several tech-entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to incubate early-stage technology start-ups. In 2013, Mr Chau also founded Neeuro to improve the performance of the human mind by using its self-developed, world-first brain computing platform “NeeuroOS”. In 2014, Mr Chau co-founded Spini, a marketplace for sales professionals to get crucial information for sales opportunities from the crowd. Before founding Brandtology and e-Cop, Mr Chau held senior positions in IBM and Computer Associates, Inc. Mr Chau has also appeared as the investor/judge in Startup Asia Seasons 1 & 2 on Channel NewsAsia. Eddie Chau holds an MSc in Communication Engineering from Imperial College, London.

Ms Heng Sue Yuan, Director, Corporate Communications, Mapletree Investments

With over 23 years of communications and marketing experience, Ms Heng Sue Yuan leads Mapletree Investments’ Corporate Communications, in the Group’s communications, branding, public relations, and corporate social responsibility initiatives. Understanding the fundamentals of business, Ms Heng was one of the panel of judges for entrepreneurship competitions including the inaugural River Hongbao Hackathon 2019 and the first Mapletree Challenge in 2019, both of which were supported by Mapletree.

Professor Ho Yew Kee, Associate Provost (SkillsFuture & Staff Development), SIT

Professor Ho Yew Kee is an accountant by training, having obtained his Bachelor’s (First Class) and Master of Economics from Monash University, Australia. He also holds a Master in Industrial Administration and a PhD from Carnegie Mellon University, USA. Professionally, Professor Ho is a Fellow CPA Australia (FCPA), a Fellow Chartered Accountant (FCA) of Singapore, and a Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA) charter holder. He was previously Professor and Head of the Department of Accounting, as well as Vice Dean (Finance & Administration) and Chairman (Executive Education) at NUS Business School. He serves as a Director of UOI Ltd.


About Mapletree Investments

Mapletree is a leading real estate development, investment, capital and property management company headquartered in Singapore. Its strategic focus is to invest in markets and real estate sectors with good growth potential. By combining its key strengths, the Group has established a track record of award-winning projects, and delivers consistent and high returns across real estate asset classes.

Mapletree currently manages four Singapore-listed real estate investment trusts (REITs) and five private equity real estate funds, which hold a diverse portfolio of assets in Asia Pacific, Europe, the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US).

As at 31 March 2020, Mapletree owns and manages S$60.5 billion of office, retail, logistics, industrial, data centre, residential and lodging properties.

The Group’s assets are located across 13 markets globally, namely Singapore, Australia, Canada, China, Europe, Hong Kong SAR, India, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, the UK, the US and Vietnam. To support its global operations, Mapletree has established an extensive network of offices in these countries.

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About Singapore Institute of Technology

Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) is Singapore’s University of Applied Learning. With a mission to nurture and develop individuals who impact society in meaningful ways, SIT aims to be a leader in innovative learning by integrating learning, industry and community. SIT offers applied degree programmes targeted at growth sectors of the economy with a unique pedagogy that integrates work and study. Applied research is weaved into students’ learning experience, where they work on real industry problems and create solutions to meet industry needs. As part of the university’s advocacy for the work-learn continuum, SIT strives to instil within its students a culture of lifelong learning and places an emphasis on skills needed by industry. SIT also aims to cultivate in its students four distinctive traits that form the SIT-DNA: Thinking Tinkerers; Able to Learn, Unlearn and Relearn; Catalysts for Transformation; and Grounded in the Community.

Established in 2009 and gazetted as an autonomous university in 2014, SIT currently has six distributed campuses, with its main campus in SIT@Dover. The future campus will be part of the Punggol Digital District that will feature a fit-for-purpose campus where the reimagining of higher education can take place within a community setting.

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For media enquiries, please contact:

Nur Atiqah Ali

Senior Assistant Manager, Corporate Communications

Singapore institute of Technology

Tel: (65) 6592 1154 / 9724 4462


Rachel Tan

Assistant Manager, Corporate Communications

Mapletree Investments Pte Ltd

Tel: (65) 6377 6376


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