The city of Singapore hosts one of the most important global Fintech events, while giving full support to its startups and community of entrepreneurs.


Funding, academic collaboration and public-private partnership. A fine recipe to develop a healthy and successful Fintech ecosystem. More the result of a strategy than coincidence, in the last few years, Singapore has seen its Fintech startup scene boom. The city has indeed done a lot to attract funders, notably via creating related events and supporting regional networking.

Part of this strategy rests on barring privileged silos. Rather than building on competition between large companies and small players, the government has decided to create the conditions for both to innovate and collaborate with each other. In fact, banks and insurance companies are setting up innovation labs and research centers in Singapore for startups to experiment and bring ideas to the market, while getting professional assessment and management consultancy.

According to the Singapore Fintech Map, the city hosts more than 200 Fintech companies, focused on diverse segments including digital banking, blockchain, data management and payment services. The good numbers are also due to the effort universities and research institutes are making to update their curricula by adding more Fintech topics. Startups and young entrepreneurs also can benefit from an annual Fintech Festival, organized by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Association of Banks since 2016, and recognized in 2017 as the worlds’ largest Fintech Festival, hosting more than 25,000 participants from 100 countries.

As Mr. Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief Fintech Officer of MAS, said at the Festival’s opening ceremony last November: “The Fintech Festival is a synergistic platform for the global Fintech community to spark new ideas and gain valuable insights. It is a key thrust of our efforts to establish Singapore as a Smart Financial Centre and a transformational Fintech hub”. While organizing a Fintech Award and a Hackcelerator, the Festival is also a great platform for Fintech companies to attract investors and raise funding for their projects.

Singapore is also known for its Venture Capital (VC) scene, which helps Fintech startups to get funding and managerial support for their projects. While they grow, they can count on public infrastructure such as the LATTICE80, an innovation village in the heart of Singapore financial district which reduces costs for startups and gives them access to data centers and other services.

The host city of SIGEF2018 next September is thus the perfect place to gather innovators, entrepreneurs and social good doers from all over the world. Organized by Horyou, it will include a special panel on Fintech for social good.

The Mobile World Congress which is one of the most important global events in mobile technology and innovation that supports the UN SDGs has announced a partnership with the World Bank to improve development through Big Data.

The MWC venue in Barcelona

The 2018 edition of the Mobile World Congress (MWC), which took place last week in Barcelona, has reached remarkable results. Gathering more than 107,000 participants and 2,400 companies who exhibited their devices and business solutions, the event is known for the new technologies that are yearly presented to the general public. From self-driven cars to smartphones, and from smart homes to drones, everything seems to gravitate around electronics and software.

But there’s more to this than meets the eye. Last year, the GSM Association, representative of the mobile operators and organizer of the MWC, launched the initiative Big Data for Social Good, which gathers now 19 companies and foundations committed to supporting developing countries, foster education, improve the conditions of refugee camps and encourage startups that develop solutions to empower minorities.

This year, the MWC social good project took another step forward. With the motto of Creating a Better World, the 2018 edition heavily supported the Sustainable Development Goals. The GSMA partnered with Barcelona artists to illustrate the unique role Mobile is playing in supporting the SDGs and created visual characters to represent the mobile industry impact in supporting each one of the goals. The audience had the opportunity to learn about the SDGs and to know the role of the mobile industry to reach every one of them.

During the event, GSMA announced a partnership with the World Bank to leverage Internet of Things (IoT) solutions to communities and countries in need, fighting poverty and enhancing economic development. «With IoT and big data, we have the ability to provide insights that can be used across a wide range of applications, from agriculture to environmental protection and beyond», said Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA.

Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank

Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank, praised the initiative and made a call for more stakeholders of the mobile industry to do more against poverty. He particularly mentioned the impact of the 5G implementation, planned to start in the US and China by the end of the year, on improving people’s lives. «We must ensure it will create new markets and jobs for the poorer countries. It’s urgent to rethink tech and connectivity roles and how they will create new drives of economic development», he said.

During the many conferences dedicated to the impact of technology on society, companies showcased projects and strategies to improve connectivity and inclusion through technology. Vodafone Foundation, for example, is installing emergency wifi networks in refugee camps and in areas affected by natural disasters. Oisin Walton, programme manager for the Foundation, showcased an education project that started in the Kakuma refugee camp, in Kenya, which consists of a digital classroom that is now spread to 31 schools in 4 countries. The project is a result of a partnership with the UNHCR. «There’s a huge potential to do things together. We believe in innovation as a combination of partnership models and technology solutions», he stated.

Many other companies focused on including and empowering impaired people, like MJN Neuroserveis, which developed a device that predicts an epilepsy seizure 1 minute before it happens, Wayfinder, an audio solution with geolocalization for blind people, and Iris Bond, which helps paralyzed patients to communicate through their eyes.

Singapore is proudly known as The Garden City by its citizens. The nickname makes every bit of sense – the city is investing in environmental-friendly projects and is committed to sustainability.

Gardens by the Bay

What comes to one’s mind when one hears of Singapore? Many would say a high-tech, advanced city-state with a dense population and a praiseworthy economic performance. But there’s much more to one of the most innovative communities of the Eastern world as indeed Singapore has been investing heavily in sustainability, green projects and innovative policies – a long-term commitment that should serve as an example for other countries to follow.

There are three fields where the city stands out when it comes to green innovation: urban planning, water management and clean energy. It’s all connected – green buildings, mandatory since 2008, help people to save water, cool temperatures down naturally and improve the quality of the air. They also provide healthier, open spaces for adults and children.

In urban planning, for example, Singapore has set a rule for new developments in the Marina Bay area whereby developers must comply with a 100% greenery replacement policy. It’s also in the same area that the city has created one of the largest freshwater reservoirs in the world and set aside a 250 acres of green area named Gardens by the Bay. Many public buildings have now their own green terraces. Connected with one another, they make jogging tracks up in the sky!

The city aims to attain by 2030 a 80% score in the environmental performance rating called Green Mark, reducing carbon emissions and energy consumption. In Marina Bay, visitors can find Supertrees which collect solar energy by day and by night perform a beautiful light show. Singapore has also an electric car project called Eva Taxi, a collaborative project developed by the local university that will transform public transportation while saving energy.

Regarding water management, Singapore has invested in the reuse of reclaimed water, rainwater collection system and dessalination. Committed to building a water-conscious society, the city has won many prizes for its efforts on public and private management of water and is considered as a benchmakr in the use of innovation in the sustainable use of water.

The host city of SIGEF 2018 is on the frontline of innovation for good!

The host city of SIGEF 2018 is a good example of technology used to improve citizens lives. In a series of articles, Horyou blog will showcase some of the many positive aspects of the city!


In Singapore, a local app gives you personalized health statistics and tips to improve your habits, while another allows you to pay your parking ticket with your smartphone. These apps are all developed and proposed by the Singaporean government to improve the quality of life of its citizens.

Singapore is often pointed at as one of the smartest cities on the planet. Last year, its Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong emphasized the goal of becoming the world first smart city-state in the years to come. «We live in a time were cities are getting more and more prominence», says Manuel Tarin, chairman of the Smart City Business Institute.

How to develop a concerted, efficient strategy for a city of 5,6 million residents? It seems that the government has got the challenge right. Apart from the notorious effort of using big data to provide personalized services to the population, the city has also developed technologies that look like they were drawn from a sci-fi movie.

Take health, for instance. Singapore provides a service called TeleHealth, which allows elderly people to be monitored and rehabilitated online, without having to leave their houses. Any citizen can go to a website and access their private medical record and useful health information. When it comes to mobility, the city has a research lab to self-drive vehicles and plans to develop a real-time public transportation app, whereby people can choose routes according to their needs and get the most efficient transportation as quickly as possible.

Since 2014, when the Prime Minister launched the Smart Nation Initiative, Singapore has set dozens of landmarks, supported by stakeholders in the private sector, academia and civil society. Above all the innovation involved, the main goal of the city is to provide a better quality of life to its people, which is why technology is only a means, not the goal. As the Minister in charge of the Smart Nation initiative, Vivian Balakrishnan, said in a recent interview, that way no one will be left behind: «The real challenge is to commoditize the technology so that the new middle class can arise. Using and enjoying the fruits of this technology, that’s really what this challenge should be», she pointed.

Professor Steven MacGregor is a social innovator who has been teaching, researching and publishing about unorthodox topics such as personal sustainability and sustainable leadership. About a decade ago, he founded of The Leadership Academy of Barcelona of which he is the CEO, and for more than 15 years, he has been contending that companies should not only be money making machines. We are happy to feature Professor MacGregor as one of our Changemakers!

Part of the LAB team in Barcelona

When was the LAB founded?

The LAB was founded in 2007, when I was directing a research project on CSR and teaching on executive education programs at IESE Business School. The project was one of the first European funded efforts with a specific focus on CSR and innovation, while my teaching focused on the health and wellbeing of executives, which I viewed as personal sustainability. I felt my take on sustainability, as an aggregate of both these areas, was unique enough to take the plunge and start a company. The defining thought for me at the time was that sustainable companies couldn’t be built on people who weren’t sustainable themselves. Essentially, it’s about bringing a more human approach to business.

What does sustainable leadership stand for and why did The LAB start to develop projects and training in this area of expertise?

Most of what we’ve done in the past 10 years has been centered on the health, well-being and performance of people at work. We’ve had aspects including mindfulness, fitness, nutrition, and sleep coaching in our programs during that time. Of course, we need to manage and lead ourselves better before we can lead others. We train people to be inspiring, energetic and engaging leaders who get the best out of their people. I think that many have forgotten the simple fact that leadership is about others. Considering our basic human needs is an effective way of doing that.

Can you present some of societyLAB’s current projects?

Most of our engagements tend to come in the healthLAB and designLAB. Societal issues are integrated within these projects, for example in areas such as talent management, client experience and workspace design; but scaling up societyLAB is a big objective this year. Our idea is to focus on the area of societal wellbeing. One specific idea that we’re pursuing is using behaviour change tools to nudge peoples’ behaviour in areas such as alcohol consumption.

Steven MacGregor

What are your goals for 2018?

Using more sophisticated behaviour change tools is something we’ve been looking at for several years. These tools represent cutting-edge machine learning and algorithm development and will allow us greater insight into what works in the classroom and how we can better design our work and home environments to be happier and healthier. We make the case for wellbeing at work to be a more strategic concern. More generally, we simply want to keep having an impact on peoples’ lives.

Do you believe companies are now convinced that CSR can make both social impact and profits? How do you evaluate the current state of corporate involvement with environmental and social issues?

Most of the leading companies are now convinced yes, though they may not call it CSR. There is a deeper awareness of the contract that business has with society. How that manifests itself changes from company to company. In general, organizations are realizing the key role they play in peoples’ lives; and by engaging with them more closely – be they employees, customers or the wider community -, they know they will add value to the business in the long term and protect themselves (as much as possible) from the dangers of disruption.

Horyou is the social network for social good. What is the role of the internet and social media in influencing our companies to be more sustainable and socially conscious?

Transparency and talent. Companies can no longer get away with fancy words that are not matched by deeds. The younger generation is automatically attuned to social good in a way probably never seen before and they will hold enterprises accountable to a new way of doing business, if not directly, then certainly with how they choose to spend their talents. Even the biggest and brightest companies can no longer count on brand prestige or history to attract the best talent. People want to invest their time in something bigger than themselves.

Changemakers is an Horyou initiative which aims to highlight remarkable people & projects related to the Sustainable Development Goals. In this article, we shed a light over #SDG8 – Decent work and economic growth.

aaa est une fondation née dans le secteur privé qui a pour objectif de construire des alliances entre les générations. Nouveau membre de notre plate-forme, aaa est le résultat de la frutueuse implication des entreprises dans le social good. Nous lui souhaitons la bienvenue et sommes heureux de parler avec sa conceptrice et présidente, Muriel Favarger Ripert, pour nous éclairer sur son histoire et ses projets.

Photo: Fondation aaa

– Racontez-nous un peu l’histoire de la fondation.

Sur la proposition de M. René Fell (Président du Groupe Abissa et de l’Association Vigiswiss), naît la structure de la Fondation aaa en octobre 2015. René, en entrepreneur averti, éclairé et visionnaire a validé avec confiance le concept et le développement itératif de notre écosystème. Il est du reste co-fondateur et vice-président au Conseil de fondation. aaa est à ce jour le 1er et seul écosystème intergénérationnel qui a été créé et développé au sein d’une PME en Suisse. Il a pour vocation d’inspirer, de connecter et de rassembler des professionnels de tous horizons, des porteurs de projets, des influenceurs et décideurs tout en valorisant des valeurs chères à l’entreprenariat et l’intraprenariat en Suisse romande. L’un des objectifs est d’y partager les savoirs-faires, connaissances & pratiques sur le terrain entre professionnels au niveau régional, national, voire international. Notre plateforme propose notamment des rencontres de qualité lors de nos activités. La communauté aaa a réuni plus de 7000 personnes rencontrées de visu depuis 2011, le plus souvent en bilatérales, petits groupes et aussi lors de plus grands events ou espaces. Rien qu’en 2016 et 2017, 165 espaces privés et publics ont été conçus, organisés et promus par la Fondation aaa avec environ 3000 invités inscrits.

– Êtes-vous engagés dans la réalisation des Objectifs de Dévéloppement Durable de l’ONU ? Lesquels ?

Oui, notamment nous travaillons sur les objectifs 4, 8, 9, 10, 16 et 17.

– Quelles sont vos priorités pour 2018 ? Avez-vous des projets que vous cherchez à mettre en place dans un avenir proche ?

Dès 2016-2017, j’ai imaginé un nouveau modèle pour consolider le mouvement aaa avec 7 piliers stratégiques :

1) Une gouvernance collective, participative dans un esprit de coopération fondée sur les commissions, task-forces, chambres, chapters, cercles & forums, qui donneront naissance eux-mêmes à de nouveaux écosystèmes, organiques, agiles.

2) Economie, business, gouvernements et relations internationales : CRM vivant et mises en relation, notamment via nos événements.

3) L’écolentreprise : initiatives comme HouseEclosion & Reengineering House promu par l’un de nos consortiums dès 2018 & une méthode personnalisée pour accompagner l’individu avec son/ses projets ; stages, emploi, transposition des compétences, boostbraintorming intergénérationnel, etc – soit en mode peer-2-peer ou collectif.

4) 10 modes de financements dont 3 que je considère comme disruptifs

5) Une plateforme communication et multimédia : TV, presse, radio et numérique

6) Un Pôle Ecosystème en innovation & impact sociétaux druables en lien avec l’ESG – Environement Sustainable Governance de la Fondation aaa.

La Direction en est reprise dès mars 2018 par les soins de Mme Aurore Bui avec les 3 piliers qui fondent Softweb et Soft-Space car nous pensons fermement que nos contacts peuvent bénéficier de la mutualisation de nos réseaux et expériences.

7) «Ecosystems Design» pour diverses tailles (SME, Multinationals, etc), les Nations & les Communautés, délivré par Muriel via @ma Table & Co, sa société

– Quelles sont vos sources d’inspiration ?

Notre CEO, René Fell, mes parents et la vie collective que nous expérimentons dans le cadre de notre Ecosystème intergénérationnel.

– La fondation aaa est un nouveau membre de notre communauté. Partagez vos espoirs et vos plans avec Horyou !

Je souhaite structurer avec Horyou à terme un consortium (en numérique et en présentiel) pour les projets durables à impact social, créatifs et solidaires !

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The city of Singapore hosts one of the most important global Fintech events, while giving full support to its startups and community of entrepreneurs. Funding,...