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Sandbox Holds Inaugural Innopoly to Inspire Innovation Among Students

Innopoly is an event that attracted many students to its workshops, talks and competitions. | Photo by Isagail Carshuen

By SANDY GAN

InnoPoly is Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s (NP) inaugural event organised by Sandbox to heighten awareness of NP’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem and to build a community of innovators.

From Jul 17-19, talks, competitions, workshops and roadshows will help answer questions of enterprising students. This event comes at an opportune time when entrepreneurship is increasingly gaining importance in Singapore. The National University of Singapore (NUS), for instance, is launching a special admission scheme for those demonstrating entrepreneurship abilities. 

“Innopoly aims to level up the students’ awareness of what is happening in the industry by bringing the expertise from externally to internally into campus as well as start-ups.,” said Ms Tan Ching Ching,  Deputy Director of Sandbox. 

She added: “I think it is also a very good showcase of the entrepreneurial efforts Sandbox has put together that many people may not be aware of.”

The event showcases what Sandbox has been doing to promote entrepreneurship in NP – providing facilities and opportunities such as educational events, start-up funding, internship opportunities.

The event will specifically cover FinTech, start-ups and Sandbox’s Makers Academy. Industry experts will also share their experiences.

Day 1 (17 July): FinTech Day

The focus on Fintech or financial technology is the use of innovative technology to enable and enhance financial services such as payment, money transfer and insurance, Notable players are PayNow, Grabpay and Paypal which have revolutionised the finance sector. In an article from The Straits Times, “Fintech in Singapore: The future of our money”, Mr Varun Mittal, Asean fintech lead at EY, a global professional services firm, said that “Singapore’s fintech sector has been a great growth story with more than 400 fintech firms in the country and a lot more being added every year.”

Mr Mittal added: “I foresee Singapore becoming one of the world’s fintech capitals in the next five years.” 

Ms Tan said: “In 2016, not a lot of people knew what was Fintech and we wanted NP students to walk out of the gates and they go for job interviews, at least they would have heard about it and they can be seen as knowledgeable in the newer areas that are happening in the industry so that students can stand out.” 

Day 2 (18 July): Startup Day

Start-up booths are set where the founders will share with students how they started their business. Students can interact with the founders to learn more about what they should look out for.

Day 3 (19 July): Makers’ Day

Maker’s Academy will conduct talks, workshops and competitions for students to get engaged in making things during the event.

Mr Yang Tah Ching, 54, programme manager of Maker’s Academy, said: “The idea is to encourage the maker culture to have more than just a digital portfolio. We hope that through these events both lecturers and students can come down and experience and eventually adopt the entrepreneurship mindset.”

Maker’s Academy provides lab facilities and guidance for both staff and students to build their own prototypes. They also conduct workshops for staff to experience and see if they can incorporate the making part experience into their modules. 

Natasha Teo,19, a Pharmaceutical Science student, said: “We need more innovators to come up with new and useful creations to improve our daily life.” She felt it would be a good opportunity to be more exposed to different entrepreneurship opportunities.

Talks will be happening at LT68B and Lightbox event hall. The competitions, workshops and roadshow will be happening at Blk 58 Level 1, from noon to 4pm.

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