The Big Read: Across the value chain, S'pore firms hop on the green bandwagon as budding ecosystem takes shape

SMU alumna Karen Cheah shared that her pitch about a sustainable food packaging solution when she was pursuing her masters programme in innovation at SMU in 2019 “generated significant interest” among some venture capitalists who were listening to her presentation. While they did not invest in her solution, which was part of a class project, they told her that it had the potential to solve the global problem of single-use plastic packaging. She immediately embarked on her business idea in the same year and founded the start-up Alterpacks. Alterpacks eventually caught the eye of industry players and received support from the likes of Temasek Foundation and Enterprise Singapore (EnterpriseSG). With their backing, Alterpacks was able to commercialise its product at the end of last year. Karen said one of the firm’s goals is to make a product that can perform as well as, if not better than, traditional plastic containers.