Start-Up@Singapore, or S@S, is a nation-wide business plan competition organized by the NUS Entrepreneurship Society, National University of Singapore (NUS) Entrepreneurship Centre and NUS Business School Alumni Association Launched in 1999 and now in its ninth year, S@S aims to be the beacon for start-ups on their road to success.


Since its inception, S@S has attracted more than 1100 teams and 3600 participants, some from countries as far away as Australia, Canada, Norway, Pakistan, Russia and Greece. In addition to this, S@S has also spawned more than 60 start-ups, including award-winning businesses like TenCube, FriarTuck, PerceptiveI, World Indigo and PurpleAce Many of these start-ups have gone on to do extremely well in other national and international business plan competitions.

In its formative years, S@S was fashioned solely as a business plan competition. Yet, in recent years, it has grown and evolved to become much more than just a contest. Over and above the capital that is awarded to start-ups with winning business plans, S@S now provides current and aspiring entrepreneurs with a staggering repertoire of resources, such as educational seminars, team building workshops, mentorship opportunities and networking sessions, to help them make the critical transition from paper to product.

Last year's S@S witnessed a record-setting 234 teams and 902 participants taking part in the competition. With an average age of 22, participants were also the youngest ever in S@S' history.

In recognition of its commitment and dedication to Singapore's entrepreneurial community, S@S recently received the Friends of Enterprise (Public Service) Award 2005 from the Spirit of Enterprise


Open Category

This category is open to anyone interested in entrepreneurship, regardless of whether the company has been incorporated or not. All submissions must be the original work of the participants and may be submitted after the team has registered for the competition.

There are no restrictions on the size of a team and participants are allowed to be in one or more teams. Nonetheless, participants are strongly encouraged to be dedicated as a core member in only one team.

International participants are welcome to register for the competition provided that each team has at least one core member who is ordinarily resident in Singapore. A Singapore citizen, a permanent resident of Singapore or an expatriate holding a valid Employment Pass or Dependent's Pass fulfills this criterion.

Companies participating must be less than three years old at the point of registration.

Companies that have received outside investment from venture capitalists, private investors and/or industry sources before the closing date for executive summary submissions are eligible to compete provided the total funding committed (including paid-up capital, grants, loans and other forms of funding) does not exceed SG$200,000.

Upon conclusion of the competition, winning teams will receive 30% of the prize money. As an economic incentive for Singapore, in order to qualify for the remaining 70% of the prize money, winning teams will be required to register and set up their businesses in Singapore and provide documentary proof of having done this.

Youth Category

This category is open to participants between 14 and 22 years of age. In other words, all core members of a Youth Category team are to be under 23 years of age on or before the closing date for executive summary submissions.

Note that teams participating in the Youth Category of the competition are allowed to work with advisors, mentors and/or teachers who are 23 years of age or older on constructing and developing their executive summaries, business plans and various presentations. However, these teams should also note that advisors, mentors and/or teachers who are 23 years of age or older cannot register with the team as this will forfeit the team's eligibility to participate in the Youth Category of the competition. Such teams may only include the credentials of their advisors, mentors and/or teachers in the Advisory Board section of their executive summaries and business plans. In addition to this, only core members will be allowed to present and respond to the questions posed during the Semifinals and Finals.

Judging will be based on the same criteria and guidelines as the Open Category.


Open Category

  • Winner: SG$30,000
  • 1st Runner-Up: SG$10,000
  • 2nd Runner-Up: SG$5,000

Youth Category

  • Winner: SG$5,000
  • Merit Awards (x2): SG$1,000 each


The timeline for this year's competition has not been confirmed, but is roughly as given below:

  • Official Launch: Mid October 2008
  • Youth Boot Camp: Early December 2008
  • Executive Summary Submission Deadline: Early February 2009
  • Semifinalist Biz Clinic: March 2009
  • Business Plan Submission Deadline: Early May 2009
  • Semifinals: Late May 2009
  • Finals: Late May 2009

Past Winners

Year Winner Description
2006/07 CurioX Biotech Founded by researchers from the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, CurioX Biotech developed DropArray, a unique miniaturization platform which accelerates life science and drug discovery research. DropArray allows researchers to conduct bioassays significantly faster and cheaper while using lesser materials and maintaining the same level of flexibility and convenience as conventional platforms. CurioX Biotech will represent Singapore at the Intel-Berkeley Technology Entrepreneurship Challenge 2007 where teams present their business and technology commercialization plans. CurioX Biotech was started in 2006 and is headquartered in Singapore.
2005/06 TenCube TenCube, an independent software developer in the mobile application space, recently launched WaveSecure, a service intended to protect the data in mobile phones and cellular handhelds if they are lost or stolen. Some of TenCube’s customers include prominent leaders in IT security such as the Singapore Police Force and the Centre for Strategic IT. Since winning S@S, tenCube has been named as one of the 100 Hottest Technology Start-Ups in Asia by Red Herring and a Top-10 Wireless Innovation by Frost and Sullivan. TenCube was started in 2005 and is headquartered in Singapore.
2004/05 BioMers BioMers developed a complete aesthetic alternative to unsightly metallic braces for the treatment of malocclusion i.e. crooked teeth. While invisible to others, these metallic braces also have the necessary mechanical properties to straighten teeth. With an unrivalled product in the market, BioMers aims to capture a significant portion of the 1 million orthodontic patients in the United States of America who are currently seeking an aesthetic treatment for their malocclusion. BioMers was started in 2004 and is headquartered in Naples, Florida.
2003/04 World Indigo World Indigo offers next generation mobile communication solutions for passengers on-board ferries, airplanes and trains, empowering them to stay connected on the go. It is the first wireless network operator to specialize in providing text messaging and email services to traveling passengers. World Indigo was started in 2004 and is headquartered in Singapore.
2002/03 QuantaGen QuantaGen, which stands for quantitative analysis of genes, is engaged in research and development to commercialize an integrated and portable label-free detection system for DNA-based applications in the healthcare and defense sectors. Its detection system is best suited to address the needs of these markets because of its portability, speed, accuracy, sensitivity and cost. QuantaGen was started in 2003 and is headquartered in Singapore.


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