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Ascendas-Singbridge Her Startup 2016 Puts Singapore Female Entrepreneurs on the Global Stage

Update time:2016-06-15

15 June 2016 – The Ascendas-Singbridge Group crowned two winners from the Singapore round of the  Ascendas-Singbridge Her Startup 2016  competition.  Of  nine shortlisted finalists from Singapore, Vanitee and Wobe captured the hearts of the judges with their ideas. The two will compete in the grand finals of the competition in Silicon Valley on 20 July 2016. 
 

Ascendas-Singbridge Her Startup 2016  is the world’s first cross-border startup competition for female entrepreneurs. Jointly organised by TechBase, SoGal, Lean In China and Krspace, the competition provides a means for women to showcase their ideas and innovations  on an international platform. At least one member of each participating team must be a woman, or the product or services of the participating team must serve and impact women positively. Asia's leadingsustainable urban solutions and business space provider Ascendas-Singbridge is the full title sponsor for this year’s contest.

Vanitee is a beauty and wellness marketplace community which allows consumers to connect with beauty professionals for their services. Co-founder Kuik Xiao Shi, said: “We are deeply honoured to be recognised by such established personalities in this space.  Our priority is to strengthen our customer relationships and to perfect the user experience. We’re also  proud to have grown Vanitee into a powerful channel for beauty professionals, both women and men, to market their craft. Expanding the business is on the horizon.”  
 

Wobe is a developer of mobile business and finance tools for the Southeast Asian woman. Founder Adrianna Tan said: “We are looking to transform today’s microbusiness  landscape and  to create equal access in cash-based Asian economies such as Indonesia. The mobile application that we’ve developed will enable low income groups with no access to capital, to buy and resell prepaid credits in a more streamlined and cost efficient manner. This improves ease of transactions and allows them  to start small businesses.” The company is looking to execute a national roll-out in the next few months, which will take the mobile application into cities and non-cities in Indonesia. 
 
Ideas for and by Women 
 
On Her Startup as a platform for female entrepreneurs, Ms Virginia Tan, Co-founder and Managing Director of Lean In China, who founded the Her Startup competition in 2015, said: “Today  we are seeing many more women entrepreneurs  coming forward  with innovative business ideas.   However one of the key challenges that women entrepreneurs face is the lack of access to funding. The competition has  to-date  featured many early-stage startups whose innovations have subsequently put  them in prime position for initial rounds of financing. Last year, 40% of our global finalists attracted over US$5 million in funding in total after  the competition. Providing access to knowledge, expert advice, and an opportunity to network with an established and supportive  community,  can be very  empowering  as the competition has shown.” 
 
The live pitching round  in Singapore on 14 June  was  held at Workcentral, a vibrant co-working space at Dhoby Ghaut, which aims to build a purpose-driven community that works, learns, shares and grows together.  Each short-listed Singapore startup was given five minutes to present their ideas to an esteemed panel of judges comprising app-based ride-hailing service GrabTaxi,  SoGal Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on  investing in female-led startups, and  venture capital funds Arbor Ventures, Venturra Capital, Vectr Ventures and KK Funds. The teams were evaluated on their business model, experience and potential of their founding team, as well as the scalability of their product and markets. 

The live pitching round  in Singapore on 14 June  was  held at Workcentral, a vibrant co-working space at Dhoby Ghaut, which aims to build a purpose-driven community that works, learns, shares and grows together.  Each short-listed Singapore startup was given five minutes to present their ideas to an esteemed panel of judges comprising app-based ride-hailing service GrabTaxi,  SoGal Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on  investing in female-led startups, and  venture capital funds Arbor Ventures, Venturra Capital, Vectr Ventures and KK Funds. The teams were evaluated on their business model, experience and potential of their founding team, as well as the scalability of their product and markets. 

Ascendas-Singbridge Supports Startups 
 
Ascendas-Singbridge is  a  supporter of advancing the roles that  startups  play in the innovation landscape,  and this  includes  nurturing female-focused start-ups  to encourage more women to participate in the startup landscape.  
 
Commenting on  the competition, Mrs Nina Yang, Chief Operating Officer of Singbridge, a member  of  Ascendas-Singbridge Group, said: "As Asia’s leading provider of sustainable urban and business space solutions, Ascendas-Singbridge looks to foster a strong entrepreneurial spirit within the communities that it operates in. We are pleased to see  the competition  host a  Singapore  round for the first time  this year. The startup scene  in Singapore  is constantly abuzz with new talent, technologies and innovations.  The competition  gives us  an opportunity to  help aspiring entrepreneurs  turn  creative and disruptive ideas into enduring, real-world solutions today.” 

Mrs Yang added: “Aside from being the title sponsor for Ascendas-Singbridge Her Startup 2016, the Group has embarked on other initiatives this year to ensure that it stays ahead of the market as Singapore continues its technopreneurship push to develop local innovations and global champions. We established a “Deep Technology Hub” at Singapore Science Park I to test bed a co-working space model catering to the start-ups and growth-stage companies. We also successfully formed AIRmaker, an accelerator that  supports the development of start-ups seeking to grow and develop in Asia, which  will enhance our  relevance to the developing start-up ecosystems in the region.” 

Competition rounds for Ascendas-Singbridge Her Startup 2016 are being held across China, the United States of America, Singapore and Vietnam from 27 May to 24 June. A total of 15 finalist teams from four countries will have the opportunity to travel to the USA to participate in the global finals held in Silicon Valley. Finalists will also receive a US$5,000 scholarship to attend Draper University's one-year "MBA" programme, as well as the opportunity to participate in an immersive week-long experience which includes a two-day entrepreneurship  growth hacking bootcamp and two days of visits to leading technology companies, incubators, and accelerators. All 15 finalist teams pitching at the Silicon Valley final will receive mentorship, funding and media opportunities from world class experts, investors, CEOs and like-minded entrepreneurs.