Alipay, operated by Alibaba Group's affiliate Ant Financial, says the Alipay-NUS "Enterprise Social Innovation Challenge" aims to identify and support the growth of start-ups in Southeast Asia that are using digital technology “to build a more inclusive society”.
The payments giant says areas of focus include, but are not limited to, enabling low-income groups to gain access to better educational opportunities, supporting elderly individuals to leverage digital technologies to enhance their lifestyle, and helping people with disabilities through upskilling and reskilling initiatives.
“Since Alipay’s inception in 2004, we have been dedicated to using digital technology to bring equal opportunities to the world. In particular, we want to make financial services simple, low-cost and accessible to the many, rather than the few,” said Geoff Jiang, vice-president and general manager of Technology and Business Innovation Group at Ant Financial.
“We are delighted to partner with Ant Financial and Alipay in this worthy initiative, to seek out the most innovative start-ups involved in developing digital technologies that will build a more inclusive society and a better world for everyone,” said Professor Wong Poh Kam, senior director, NUS Entrepreneurship Centre, a division of NUS Enterprise.
“NUS Enterprise will help these innovators scale their efforts and maximise social impact, through our strong support ecosystem and extensive entrepreneurial networks, which include mentors, impact investors, corporate CSR teams, capacity builders and community partners.”
The inaugural Alipay-NUS Enterprise Social Innovation Challenge will take place in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Applicants can participate by registering online. Applications will close in January 2019. The first round of judging will determine the top three winners within each country, who will each receive a cash prize of S$10,000. The nine finalists will compete for the top cash prize of S$50,000 in the grand finale, to be held in Singapore in March 2019.
The winning teams will not only receive financial rewards to invest toward increasing their social impact, but also receive support to accelerate their growth through networks, mentorship and partnership opportunities with Ant Financial, NUS and other partners in the ecosystem.
And top teams will also receive three-month incubation support by NUS Enterprise, as well as access to its BLOCK71 community and co-working space in Singapore, Bandung, Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Suzhou and San Francisco.