Singapore. The Liveability Challenge is back for its fifth edition in 2022 to search for the world's best innovative solutions that will work to combat pressing issues affecting major cities in the tropics.
The initiative, presented by the Temasek Foundation and organized by Eco-Business will crowdsource ‘game changing’ and ‘disruptive solutions’ pitched by eco startups from January 14 to April 1. Finalists selected will then attend a finale in June and the best solution will receive S$1 million in funding.
Speaking at the 2022 Liveability Challenge launch on Friday, Chief Executive Temasek Foundation Liveability Lim Hock Chuan revealed the three themes of this year's initiative which are decarbonization, food, and conserving natural ecosystems.
"Temasek Foundation believes that innovation is the key to creating impactable improvements to the liveability of cities, so while the pandemic is still on, we believe that our search for innovative solutions to improve liveability and sustainability must continue,” Chuan said.
The Liveability Challenge aims to move the solutions from the science lab and into the commercial market which is particularly important for the sustainable future of cities across Asia. The themes were specifically chosen as there is a great need for more businesses around the world to lower their carbon emissions and work towards achieving net zero.
“We have a carbon problem; the current rate of carbon emission will result in global warming of 1.5 degrees by the year 2030 and for cities around the equator it could go up as high as three degrees,” he said.
Chuan said they are inviting “solutions that can conserve and restore tropical forests, mangrove peatland and coastal ecosystems within Southeast Asia”
Last year’s winner, US-based SeaChange developed decarbonization technology that converts dissolved CO2 in seawater into solid carbonates which can be used in creating building materials.
Leading the discussion at the launch was Managing Director, Head of Sustainability Solutions Asia Pacific Malavika Bambawale, Managing Partner at Wavemaker Partners Paul Santos, and Managing Director at Xora Phil Inagaki. The three panelists spoke of the importance of each theme, innovation and what it meant for the solutions and what participants should consider when submitting their idea.
Paul Santos said investors take risks for these ideas because “you will still need money to get these projects off the ground and that is what our money is designed to do”.
The takeaway advice for this year's participants was that solutions be economically viable and seek to improve liveability.
“Companies that do well have identified a real problem and they are not just pushing a technology trying to find an application,” Phil Inagaki said.
“A lot of time when we’re looking at breakthrough innovation it has to do with cost because the interesting thing is technologies or solutions, we were pursuing were proven to be possible, but the problem is they are not yet economical.”