Mapletree Empowers Aspiring Innovators with Fifth Year of Support for The Mapletree Challenge


Five innovative solutions for a better world

3 May 2024The fifth edition of The Mapletree Challenge Grand Final, supported by Mapletree Investments (“Mapletree” or “the Group”) and organised by the Singapore Institute of Technology (“SIT”), culminated in a successful Grand Final on 3 May 2024. 

Team Aqua Gold, a group of Year 4 SIT students from the Food Technology degree programme, emerged victorious among the five finalist teams, walking away with the grand cash prize of S$8,000.

Team Aqua Gold aims to leverage Singapore's limited farming space by collaborating with local aquafarms to craft Furikake sustainably. Their innovative offering, O.NILO Fish Furikake, is a nutritious topping crafted from tilapia fish fingerlings and okara (soybean pulp). By incorporating tilapia fish bones into the recipe, Team Aqua Gold minimises waste derived from traditional Furikake production. Available in three flavours, the product utilises locally sourced and upcycled ingredients, coupled with sustainable production methods, to reduce both carbon footprint and food waste.

First launched in October 2018, The Mapletree Challenge has nurtured sustainability guardians who are passionate about preserving a sustainable world with innovative solutions. More than 1,600 SIT students from various fields of study have benefitted from the annual challenges and mentorship centred on ‘Sustainability and Innovation’.

This year’s Challenge, held from February to May 2024, saw participants attending masterclasses on entrepreneurship, investor engagement and sales pitching; participating in a forum discussion on entrepreneurship and innovation by leading entrepreneurs; and sharpening their business proposals with advice from industry mentors. More information about The Mapletree Challenge 2024 is detailed in Annex A.

11 teams competed in the semi-finals stage, with five teams progressing to the Grand Final to vie for the Mapletree Gold, Mapletree Silver and Mapletree Bronze awards. The top three teams from the Grand Final were presented cash prizes of S$8,000, S$5,000 and S$3,000.


The Mapletree Gold winner, Team Aqua Gold, at The Mapletree Challenge 2024 Grand Final held at Mapletree Business City. (SIT Photo: Keng Photography/Tan Eng Keng)

group photo

The five finalist teams of The Mapletree Challenge 2024 with senior management of SIT and Mapletree. (SIT Photo: Keng Photography/Tan Eng Keng)

token exchange

Exchange of tokens of appreciation between Mr Edmund Cheng, Chairman, Mapletree (left) and Mr Bernard Nee, Deputy President (Industry & Community), SIT (right). (SIT Photo: Keng Photography/Tan Eng Keng)

Mr Bernard Nee, Deputy President (Industry & Community), SIT, said, “The Mapletree Challenge was a unique initiative that availed learning opportunities through industry and community sustainability challenges. The Challenge has trained hundreds of students to think creatively and offer innovative solutions for sustainable practices, products and services.”  

"Our continued support for The Mapletree Challenge 2024 aligns with our Corporate Social Responsibility pillar of education. We are committed to nurturing the next generation of innovators who will positively impact our society. We hope the Challenge serves as a stepping stone for students to continue developing entrepreneurial ideas to make a difference," said Mr Edmund Cheng, Chairman, Mapletree. 

The finalist teams explored various sustainability aspects in products and services – from a smart vending machine that dispenses reusable food containers, a substitute material for styrofoam packaging that is environmentally friendly, a condiment that is produced locally using upcycled ingredients, a mobile app to trade underutilised everyday items which would otherwise be discarded, to a novel 3D printer that automates processes for sustainable operations. The full list of finalists is in Annex B.

Annex A

The Mapletree Challenge 2024 in its entirety, comprises the following components:

  • The Mapletree Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (13 March 2024): over 60 SIT students attended the panel discussion on entrepreneurship and innovation held at Mapletree Business City. The following entrepreneurs and industry experts shared their entrepreneurship and sustainability journey:
    • Mr Lucas Cheong, Founder, Paratlas
    • Mr Farhan Firdaus, Partner, Meet Ventures
    • Mr Patrick Lim, CEO, ACE Singapore
    • Mr Emmanual Tay, CEO & Co-founder, Circular Unite
    • Ms Kong Man Jing (MJ), Co-founder, Just Keep Thinking
    • Dr Pang Chin Hong, Head of Group Sustainability, Mapletree Investments
  • The Mapletree Challenge Semi-Finals (15 April 2024): innovation pitch competition held in SIT with 11 teams vying for the top five spots in the Grand Final.
  • The Grand Final (3 May 2024): the five selected finalist teams pitched their business plan to a panel of judges in a 15-minute live presentation.

Cash prizes for the Grand Final:

  • Mapletree Gold Award: S$8,000
  • Mapletree Silver Award: S$5,000
  • Mapletree Bronze Award: S$3,000
  • Commendation Prizes: S$1,000 for selected teams

The judges for the Grand Final are:

  • Mr Kent Lewis Williams, Head, Group Development Management, Australia/North Asia/Europe/US, Mapletree Investments;
  • Mr Hussein Sulaiman, Investment Principal, Jumpstart Disruptive Innovations (JDI) Group;
  • Associate Professor Koh Sze Kee, Cluster Director, Business, Communication and Design, Singapore Institute of Technology

Annex B: List of Finalists / Winners

1. Aqua Gold [Mapletree Gold Award]


As part of the Singapore Green Plan 2030, Singapore is working towards the ’30 by 30’ goal - to build our agri-food industry’s capability and capacity to sustainably produce 30% of our nutritional needs by 2030.

With 1% of Singapore’s land set aside for farming, Team Aqua Gold sees an opportunity to work with existing local aquafarms to produce Furikake in a sustainable way. Furikake is a Japanese condiment sprinkled on rice, fish, and vegetables. Typically, blends of furikake include ingredients like dried nori (seaweed), toasted sesame seeds, dried fish, dried eggs, dried herbs, salt, and sugar.

Team Aqua Gold’s O.NILO Fish Furikake is a nutritious, ready-to-eat food topping made from tilapia fish fingerlings and okara (soybean pulp). Fish bones of tilapia form part of the ingredients in an effort to minimise wastage. The product comes in three flavours, and the use of locally sourced, upcycled ingredients and sustainable production processes help reduce carbon footprint and food wastage.

Team Members / Degree Programme:

Tsai Kok Pow – Team Lead, Chevonne Luo Zheng Yee, Audrey Lim Jia Wen, Evelyn Ng Pei Ying, Nurice Lam Yun Jia,

All the above Year 4 students are from the Food Technology degree programme.

2. Nigel’s Fantastic Four [Mapletree Silver Award]



Styrofoam packaging has a huge environmental impact. From polluting oceans, contributing to global climate change, and causing danger to human health, the consequences are far-reaching. Nigel’s Fantastic Four offers an alternative, environment-friendly packing solution to the non-biodegradable styrofoam.The team proposes packaging made from mycelium, the mass of branched fibres that make up fungus. Mycelium is a safe, strong, and biodegradable material, and mycelium-based products naturally degrade after their intended product cycle.

The packaging has a natural fibrous texture, which can be used to package electronics and fragile items such as wine bottles.Sustainable packaging is becoming an increasingly high priority for both consumers and brands. The low-energy consumption of growing mushroom fungus to cultivate mycelium, the ability to be custom-moulded, and the compostable quality of this packaging would help organisations meet their sustainability goals and promote a greener earth. 

Team Members / Degree Programme:

Nigel Ang (Team Lead), Year 4; Nicole Tan Hsing Yi, Year 3; Tan Yee Lin, Year 3; Daphne Ng Jing Ni, Year 3; Lim Zhi Xin, Year 3

All the above students are from the Food Technology degree programme.

3. ETEN Engineering [Mapletree Bronze Award]


3D printing is achieved through additive manufacturing — the process by which material is joined under computer control to create a three-dimensional object. The material, ranging from liquid resin to powdered grains, is fused together layer by layer. A variety of shapes, including very complex ones, are easily printed from a digital 3D model or CAD file.

‘Conveyo’, a novel 3D Printer designed by Team ETEN Engineering, seeks to elevate this eco-friendly manufacturing process by streamlining production and offering an energy-efficient alternative to conventional 3D printers.

The inclusion of a conveyor system in their 3D printer helps automate the removal of finished parts, which saves time and doesn’t require human intervention. This allows for continuous printing, maximising printing uptime and increasing production. As human intervention is not needed, it results in savings in manpower costs.

Designed for the educational sector and commercial markets in the ASEAN region, Conveyo strives to advance sustainability in the 3D printing industry by reducing the carbon footprint of additive manufacturing and fostering sustainable practices.

Team Members / Degree Programme:

Ethan Lim Wei Qi (Team Lead), Jeremiah Ho Zhan Rui, Gareth Tan Jun Long, Ke Ee Chong

All the above Year 1 students are from the Mechanical Design and Manufacturing Engineering degree programme.

4. Dabaoware [Commendation Prize]

vending machine

Single-use plastic containers in Singapore's hawker centres are a significant source of pollution, leading to unnecessary environmental damage. Introducing Dabaoware, an innovative solution designed to revamp the "bring-your-own" initiative by dispensing reusable food containers through smart vending machines. Each container features a robust stainless-steel base for outstanding structural integrity and a flexible, durable cover.

The cutting-edge vending machines leverage advanced machine learning and computer vision technology to automate processes. Users simply head to a vending machine to retrieve a takeaway container before buying their food, and return the unwashed container to the vending machine after use, where it would be collected and cleaned in an offsite centralised dishwashing system. The clean containers will then be restocked in the vending machines for the cycle to repeat.

This vending machine offers convenience and encourages eco-friendly practices by providing a practical solution for reducing single-use packaging. Ideal for busy urban areas, schools, and hawker centres, the machines seamlessly integrate into the daily routines of Singaporeans who lunch out or order takeaway food, to make sustainability effortless.

Team Members / Degree Programme:

Sebastian Nuguid Fernandez - Team Lead, Toh Shao Ern, Ashsyahid Bin Hussin, Liew Xi Jun Adrian

All the above Year 1 students are from the Applied Artificial Intelligence degree programme.

5. Fintech [Commendation Prize]


Common Crates is an innovative mobile platform designed to drive sustainability by allowing users to rent, gift or sell underutilised items such as clothes, bicycles and electronics, thereby fostering a culture of reusability and sharing. By giving these items a new lease of life, the platform addresses the challenge of high disposal rates and environmental degradation by encouraging the circulation of goods that would otherwise contribute to waste.

Through the app, users have the option to rent out, sell, or give their items away for free to other interested users. With features like proximity-based discovery to match interested buyers and sellers who are nearby for convenient transactions and Know-Your-Customer (KYC) verification for secure transactions, Common Crates aims to make sharing easy and efficient while ensuring a safe environment for transactions. It promises to reduce environmental footprints, connect people, and empower them towards collective prosperity.

Team Members / Degree Programme:

Ruchel Lee Wen Xuan – Team Lead, Praveen Kumar, Tay Boon Kai, Lee Ray Hao

All the above Year 2 students are from the Applied Computing with a specialisation in Fintech degree programme.

About Singapore Institute of Technology

The Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) is Singapore’s first University of Applied Learning, offering industry-relevant degree programmes that prepare its graduates to be work- and future-ready professionals. Its mission is to maximise the potential of its learners and to innovate with industry, through an integrated applied learning and research approach, so as to contribute to the economy and society. 

The University’s unique pedagogy integrates work and study, embracing authentic learning in a real-world environment through collaborations with key strategic partners. Its focus on applied research with business impact is aimed at helping industry innovate and grow. Ready in 2024, SIT’s centralised campus within the larger Punggol Digital District will feature a vibrant learning environment where academia and industry will be tightly integrated with the community. 

For more information, visit  

About Mapletree

Headquartered in Singapore, Mapletree is a global real estate development, investment, capital and property management company committed to sustainability. 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.

The Group manages three Singapore-listed real estate investment trusts (“REITs”) and eight 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 2023, Mapletree owns and manages S$77.4 billion of office, retail, logistics, industrial, data centre, residential and student accommodation 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.

For more information, please visit

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