Singapore, 17 February 2022 - Singapore Management University’s (SMU) Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE) today welcomed the January 2022 cohort of its flagship Business Innovations Generator (BIG) incubation programme. A total of 28 early-stage start-ups have been accepted into the programme’s first intake for the year.
As a testament to the reputation and success of firms emerging from the BIG incubation programme, the January 2022 cohort boasts seven serial entrepreneurs, who have prior experience of building businesses from the ground up.
“I am really looking forward to learning from other founders in BIG’s robust community. I think peer-to-peer feedback and community support is really important for young start-ups as these invaluable and honest insights can truly help refine your products or services to cater to market needs”, said Mathieu Van Giel, Co-founder of Wasna, his second start-up.
Seasoned entrepreneurs like Sherritze Lew and Jeremy Koh, co-founders of Aerealm who have been operating their business for three years, enrolled themselves into BIG incubation programme with the intention to seek additional support and expertise to further develop their current business model.
"Having been on our start-up journey for three years, we've always been navigating the world of entrepreneurship on our own. We're extremely excited to now be part of a bigger community at BIG to connect with like-minded young entrepreneurs, mentors and for our own personal development to grow as business owners."
All applicants to the BIG programme are assessed based on the qualities of their businesses, including the viability of their business models, current market needs, and positive traits of the founding team which includes integrity, grit, and coachability. Intake to the BIG programme is highly selective, with an acceptance rate of around 15 percent. Application to the programme is open to all SMU students, alumni, and staff including aspiring entrepreneurs or founders who are not affiliated with SMU. The BIG programme takes no equity from startups and is industry-agnostic.
Commenting on the January 2022 cohort of the BIG programme, Shirley Wong, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at SMU IIE said, “We are honoured to be able to contribute positively to the development of Singapore’s vibrant start-up ecosystem. Through the BIG incubation programme, we aim to provide a launchpad to groom and nurture the entrepreneurs of the future, providing them with useful resources and the support that they need to thrive in today's market.”
All participants in the BIG programme will receive a host of benefits which include access to a co-working space at SMU IIE’s innovation facility located at the heart of Singapore’s city centre, The Greenhouse, access to the university’s faculty expertise, opportunities for funding, grants, and various other resources.
In accordance with SMU IIE’s focus on the traits of all entrepreneurs and founders within its programmes, the BIG programme implements a ‘Founders First’ approach to its curriculum where all founders are required to undergo mandatory Founder’s Ethics classes, sharing sessions on established entrepreneurs’ journeys, as well as, a scheme to incentivise contributions back to community or society with a purpose.
As a personification of the programme’s firm industry-agnostic belief, the January 2022 cohort is diverse, consisting of start-ups across various industries and sectors including insurtech, fintech, blockchain, sustainability, and travel, among others. For more information regarding the start-ups making up the January 2022 cohort, please refer to the Annex.
For more information on SMU IIE’s BIG programme, visit here: https://iie.smu.edu.sg/big-incubation-programme