After celebrating 50 years of independence in 2015, Singapore enters a new phase in its history. With this recalibration, the world is keen to know what's next for the small island-nation, widely emulated as a model of cultural diversity and economic success.
An established hub for trade, finance, and logistics, Singapore can show the world what else it can achieve as it transitions into a smart nation, driven by a new generation of businesses and industries that capitalizes on technological expertise.
The Special Business Report on Singapore, tentatively scheduled for publication in the November/December 2017 issue of Foreign Affairs, will highlight the country’s leading sectors, enterprises, projects and brands, while identifying opportunities for investment available to foreign companies.
In the recent years, Singapore has seen the rise of a new breed of companies that develop products and technologies that support healthy, sustainable, environment-friendly practices in a wide range of industries in the country and the rest of the world.
Set up four years ago, Solar Horizon leases customized rooftop solar power systems in Singapore and Southeast Asia. To consolidate its business and expand elsewhere, the company continuously educates businesses in the city-state about the benefits of adopting clean energy to the planet and their bottom line. Currently, Solar Horizon is aggressively expanding into the Philippines and looking into its prospects in Indonesia and the Maldives.
“We need to think long term, have patience, perseverance and user empathy. We need to educate the market on the value of solar energy and make this business model sustainable for all,” Founder and CEO Samridh Goyal said.
On the other hand, ZWEEC focuses on water safety and security. Its technology also allows for early detection of water contamination through the study and observation of the behaviour of groups of fish. Its expansion plans will start in China before moving on to Australia and Europe. ZWEEC hopes that Singapore’s strength as a smart, green nation will also strengthen its brand and convince other countries to enlist its expertise.
“We hope that the water security practices implemented in Singapore a good benchmark to show other countries that we are serious in our work,” CEO Liaw Kok Eng said.
Meanwhile, Sky Greens and Sustenir Agriculture concentrate on Singapore’s agricultural sector. Sky Greens built the world’s first low carbon hydraulic water-driven vertical farming system. Because of the scarcity of land in Singapore, company founder and inventor Jack Ng was inspired to find creative solutions to improve food supply in the country.
After years of experimenting with different materials and components of farming, Ng came up with a prototype that received the support of the Singaporean government. With that endorsement, the country is now confident enough to expand into other Southeast Asian markets.
“The farmers and consumers benefit from this. Agriculture is not a big industry in Singapore, so we have to open the mindset of the people to creative possibilities in this field,” Ng said.
Sustenir Agriculture, on the other hand, adopts the latest science discoveries to grow high-nutrition, specialty leafy greens through sustainable Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA). Through its technology, the company is able to grow non-native vegetables and thus, reduce dependence of imported products.
Because it is located at the heart of Singapore, the company offers vegetables with a lower carbon footprint and distribution costs, making its products both socially and environmentally responsible.