Connecting business with innovation

01 October 2019 | Entrepreneurship
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Innovfest Suzhou delegates visiting one of the booths at the event's project roadshow

More than 1,000 entrepreneurs, corporates, investors, technology start-ups, professionals and academics gathered at the NUS Suzhou Research Institute (NUSRI) from 25 to 27 September for the fifth edition of Innovfest Suzhou. Jointly organised by NUSRI, NUS Enterprise and BLOCK71 Suzhou, the three-day event featured close to 100 innovation keynotes, forums, project roadshows, product showcase, closed-door pitching, panel discussions, workshops and industrial visits aimed at building a key cross-border platform to connect China companies with innovative ideas overseas, especially those from Singapore.

This year’s theme — “Connecting brands and corporations with disruptive technology; Exploring China-ASEAN opportunities” — saw topics like digital medical care, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence (AI), intelligent manufacturing, green energy and pollution control discussed in the contexts of Modern Aging, Smart Green Technology Application and Ecological Restoration, among others.

In the fields of Industry 4.0, especially in the areas of AI and big data, I believe that NUSRI will collaborate with more universities and companies to contribute to the exchange between China and Singapore.

In his opening keynote address, NUS Senior Deputy President and Provost Professor Ho Teck Hua discussed the promises and myths of this digital era known as Industry 4.0. He said, “In the fields of Industry 4.0, especially in the areas of AI and big data, I believe that NUSRI will collaborate with more universities and companies to contribute to the exchange between China and Singapore.”

In conjunction with the 25th anniversary of the Suzhou Industrial Park this year, Innovfest Suzhou organised a Sino-Singapore Entrepreneur Forum to promote innovation, collaboration and market access in China, Singapore and beyond. The forum connected entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, policymakers and other start-up champions to explore the opportunities and challenges of engaging effectively with the China and ASEAN marketplaces.

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Prof Ho giving the opening keynote address at Innovfest Suzhou

NUSRI and the School of Knowledge Economy and Management also jointly organised the InnovAlley & Startup Kafe which provided a platform for entrepreneurial youth to display their innovative ideas and projects. More than 10 projects were presented by university students and recent graduates, demonstrating their entrepreneurial mindset and innovative solutions to real-world problems.

Over 300 global companies and investment agencies such as Huawei, Tencent, Boston Scientific, Sembcorp and GGV Capital participated in Innovfest Suzhou 2019. The event was also attended by Ms Indranee Rajah, Singapore Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Finance and Education; Dr Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry; and Mr Lee Yi Shyan, Chairman of Business China, Singapore.