Singapore’s dry spell keeps water startups keen on HydroPreneur

In S’pore, water is a strategic, existential issue: SIWW Deputy MD Bernard Tan. With new incubation programme, can water crises be managed better?

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Singapore might be facing the worst dry spell since 1869, but its water startup scene isn’t. In conjunction with the upcoming Singapore International Water Week (SIWW) this June 1-5, the HydroPreneur Programme (HPP) has been organised to garner and nurture aspiring global water entrepreneurs and talents.

According to the official website, HPP is a new initiative organised by SIWW, and supported by the Environment and Water Industry Programme Office (EWI), an inter-agency office set up to spearhead the growth and development of the water industry in Singapore.

There are two tests to pass before participants can get an invitation to join the programme. Participants will have to submit their applications online. Those who are deemed qualified will then be sent an email that will direct them to an online aptitude test, which will take about 30 to 45 minutes to complete.

Selected participants will be put through nine weeks of industry-oriented training, which will be held during evenings. Their programme fees will be fully sponsored, and they will be provided with mentorship and startup development support. Should individuals not have a team when they join, they can take advantage of match-making sessions during the programme.

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The official statement noted that at least one member in the team must have strong technical expertise in the water sector, and that at least one member must be below the age of 35.

Participants should apply before the final deadline on March 21, 2014. It seems that the applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, which means that chances of getting accepted are higher when submissions are made earlier.

Bernard Tan, Deputy Managing Director, SIWW, told e27 that Singapore is widely recognised as a global hydrohub. He said, “There are many interesting opportunities in global water market that water startups in Singapore can capture, and SIWW provides a platform, bringing stakeholders from the global water industry together to share and co-create innovative water solutions.”

He added that in Singapore, water is both, a strategic and existential issue. In fact, with the programme, startups who are already dealing with water crises can further develop strengths in management and understanding the water industry in the city-state.

The National Research Foundation (NRF) has also committed S$470 million (US$370 million) to drive public and private sector water research through EWI. Tan noted that under HPP, teams can contact the NUS Industry Liaison Office and the NTU Nanyang Innovation and Enterprise Office, as well as the agencies’ scheme officers, for advice on the application procedures for various government schemes.

Successful applicants will be enrolled in either the Founder Institute Programme, or NUS’s Lean LaunchPad Programme. More details can be found here.

Elaine Huang

Elaine is a fervent believer that if there ever is a zombie apocalypse, we will all be snapping away at them with our phones and posting them onto Instagram. A Mass Communication graduate of Ngee Ann Polytechnic's School of Film and Media Studies, she enjoys writing about technology and entrepreneurs. When not hashtagging her way through all sorts of trouble, Elaine is probably contemplating how to write in the third person.

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