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High-tech classroom tool wins DBS-NUS Social Venture Challenge

The social venture competition saw 418 teams from more than 20 countries taking part.

SINGAPORE: Business models to improve education and healthcare for the underprivileged; a multi-functional clothing design to make lives easier for disaster survivors; a crowdfunding platform for social ventures; and a scalable plan to boost tourism revenues for local communities - just some of the 418 social venture ideas submitted to the inaugural DBS-NUS Social Venture Challenge Asia by social entrepreneurs from across Asia.

In the end, it was Zaya Learning Labs who clinched the top prize at the awards ceremony on Friday (June 6).

In attempting to tackle the education crisis in India, where nearly 60 per cent of children do not complete primary school, the team developed applications such as instructional videos, assessment questions, lesson plans and performance analytics, which are then uploaded onto its proprietary ClassCloud, a portable device that acts as a WiFi router, server, storage and battery pack. Teachers and students can access its content using any WiFi-enabled device.

For their win, they took home a trophy and a cash prize of S$30,000. Maya Universe Academy from Nepal came in second place while Bodhi Health Education from India and Local Alike from Thailand both tied for third. All winners were presented their prizes by President Tony Tan Keng Yam.

“NUS Enterprise hopes that the winners, together with other participants will see this competition as just the start of their career as social entrepreneurs, who are willing to make a difference in this world,” said Dr Lily Chan, CEO of NUS Enterprise.

The DBS-NUS Social Venture Challenge was first launched in September 2013. It aims to identify and support new social ventures that have the potential to generate scalable and sustainable social impact.

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