Singularity Competition


In Search of the Next Malaysian
Entrepreneurial and Tech Legend

Project Renaissance is partnering with Singularity University to run the Global Impact Competition (think American Idol but for Entrepreneurs) in search of a smart ambitious, forward-thinking Malaysian visionary to represent the country in a 3-month sponsorship to Silicon Valley’s best educational institute.

Winner Announcement

Faisal Ariff wins the First Global Impact Competition in Malaysia

We would like to congratulate Faisal for winning the RM97,000 sponsorship to the Graduate Studies Program in Singularity University for his idea “Passport 2.0″.

Faisal’s idea, “Passport 2.0″, provides a simpler, safer and more efficient way to document and organize important travel data online, which can be accessed by immigration departments worldwide and provide peace of mind to governments by helping to prevent travel-related crimes and offering a more streamlined documentation process.

A Cambridge University and Columbia University graduate, Faisal is currently working as a portfolio manager at an investment bank, and in his free time volunteers with Mercy Malaysia, a disaster relief organization. He was recently on an expedition in Antarctica, an experience that he had also won from a competition.

To view the Global Impact Competition Malaysia 2014 finalists,click here.

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We are looking for someone with an idea for a product or service, that could improve the lives of 1 million Malaysian citizens within the next 5 years.

The world is entering a period of accelerated technological change. We’ll witness more changes in the next 10 years than the last 100. And nations and people that are aware of exponential technologies will be at an advantage. Our goal is to give Malaysian entrepreneurs this edge.

The winner will receive a full sponsorship of their tuition fees worth over RM90,000 to the Graduate Studies Program at Singularity University from June-August 2014, and be guided by a faculty of robotics experts, nanotechnologists, biotechnologists, neuroscientists, entrepreneurs, environmental engineers and more.

The idea can be used to solve a challenge in any area that impacts humanity – pollution, education, healthcare, transportation or even corruption.

About Singularity University

Based in the NASA Research Park in Silicon Valley, Singularity University is an unconventional, innovative and acclaimed institution with the mission to “educate, inspire and empower leaders to apply exponential technologies to address humanity’s grand challenges.”

Founded by the chairman of the XPRIZE Foundation, – Peter Diamandis, and Google’s Engineering Director – Ray Kuzweil, the university gathers the world’s brightest minds and personalities to be guided by a stellar faculty of scientists, technologists, entrepreneurs and futurists to focus on technologies that can solve humanity’s hardest problems.

To find out more Singularity University, visit their official website.

The Prize

The winner of the Global Impact Competition will be given automatic acceptance and full sponsorship* to the Singularity University Graduate Studies Program (worth over RM95,000) from June-August 2014 at the NASA Research Park in Silicon Valley, California.

Through the program, you will…

  • Be part of an international network of exceptional students to create new solutions to impact the future.
  • Visit some of the most innovative companies in the world such as NASA, Google, Facebook, Tesla Motors, Nokia and Autodesk.
  • Be recognized as a leader in technology and innovation in Malaysia.

*The sponsorship prize covers tuition, all housing and scheduled meals, academic materials and site visits. However, it does not include travel to and from the program, which is a separate expense paid by the winner.

The Sponsor

The idea for bringing this competition to Malaysia came from Dr. Clarence Tan – the first Malaysian to graduate from Singularity University. Clarence and Mindvalley would like to thank Alyah Abdullah and Ayub Ali. As active philanthropists, Alya and Ayub are keen on helping those in need, as well as promoting innovation and entrepreneurship in Malaysia and around the world. It was their generosity that made this entire competition possible.

The Judges

Main Judges

Dr. Clarence Tan

Dr Clarence Tan is the Founder of Bond Wireless, a Queensland-based award-winning wireless software applications and services company. He is the Adjunct Professor of Griffith University and the recipient of the Queensland government prestigious Entrepreneur in Residence Fellowship for 2010 at Bond University and the Gold Coast Innovation Centre at Griffith University. He was the first and only Malaysian to have enrolled in the Singularity University Graduate Studies Program and also represents the university as an ambassador for Malaysia and Australia.

Vishen Lakhiani

Vishen Lakhiani is the founder and CEO of Mindvalley, an education brand invested in pushing humanity forward through online learning platforms, quality content, lifestyle mobile apps, inspiring events and game-changing movements specializing in personal growth and entrepreneurship. A member of the X PRIZE Innovation Board, he stands for ideas, companies and products that allow human beings to live healthier, happier, extraordinary lives.Vishen co-founded Project Renaissance with Mindvalley employees to find ways to hack and transform cities into centers of learning and innovation. Kuala Lumpur is their first experimental ground.

Guest Judges

YB Khairy Jamaluddin

Khairy Jamaluddin is the Minister of Sports & Youth for Malaysia and Chairman of the youth faction of the ruling coalition, Barisan Nasional. In 2012, he was appointed as Chairman of Perbadanan Usahawan Nasional Berhad (PUNB), Malaysia’s premier entrepreneur development organization tasked with providing loans and business support to small and medium enterprises. Prior to entering politics, Khairy has worked as a journalist, a policy aide and an investment banker. During his studies he majored in Philosophy, Politics and Economics in Oxford University and earned his Master degree in Legal and Political Philosophy from University College London.

Dr. Yunus Yasin

Yunus Yasin is an entrepreneur, an innovator and consultant to various projects, companies and non-profit organizations in areas such as business start-ups, environmental awareness, sustainable living, agriculture and climate change. As the Founding Project Advisor of Vata VM Synergy (M) Sdn. Bhd, he helps to implement strategic business plans for the usage of compost and vermicompost in the treatment of organic wastes and production of organic fertilizers. He also co-founded the Science Technology and Innovation in Malaysia, the Young Inventors Challenge Creative & Critical Thinking Camp.

Brahmal Vasudevan

Brahmal Vasudevan is the founder of Creador, a private equity firm focused on long-term investments in growth-orientated businesses in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and India. He previously spent 11 years as a General Partner and Managing Director of ChrysCapital, a leading private equity firm focused on growth capital investments in India. He also established the Pacific Straits Foundation, a charitable foundation focused on the education of less-privileged children in South and South East Asia. Brahmal holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and graduated with First Class Honors in Aeronautical Engineering from Imperial College, London.

Carol Wong

Carol is the Chief Inspiration Officer at Genovasi, a transformative learning institution established by Agensi Inovasi Malaysia (AIM) in 2012. Genovasi’s vision is to inspire, create and empower a movement of innovators for the betterment of self, environment and the world. Prior to her role in setting up and managing Genovasi, Carol has assisted AIM in introducing the International Baccalaureate programme for implementation at our national schools and development of 21st Century Skills and Competencies framework. Carol was a partner with Ernst & Young of which she has gained over 23 years experience in business advisory services.

Dive in and Learn about Singularity University

1 Watch “What I Learned at Singularity University” by Dr. Clarence Tan

Watch Dr. Clarence Tan’s presentation at Awesomeness Fest East in Bali last year, where he shared his learnings and experiences in exponential science, technology and growth with Singularity University.

If you are seriously interested in applying for this competition, then this is a must-see video. Watching this will give you an idea of why Singularity U’s mission is so important. In the next 10 years we’ll see an exponential change in how technology alters the world – unless you’re prepared, you won’t be able to seize upon the many new opportunities emerging. Nations and countries that are aware of exponential technologies will have an edge. Period.

2 Watch the Trailer to the Yet to Be Released Film “The University”

The movie is still being made. But this wonderful trailer by the filmmakers gives some interesting shots of what students may experience while at Singularity U. It will have you hooked all the way.

In the words of Larry Page, the founder of Google, as he’s featured in this video – “Are you working on something which can change the world? Yes or no? The answer for 99.99999% of people is no.”

This video shows you how the students at Singularity U come together to address Page’s call to do things that can impact 1 billion people in 10 years.

Competition Timeline & Mechanics

Competition Timeline

January 15th 2014 • Competition opens to candidates to submit applications via an online application form

March 8th 2014 • Submission window for entry forms closes at 11:59pm MYT.

March 9th – 11th 2014 • Shortlisting process among Main Judges to narrow the applicants to the Top 5.

March 12th 2014 • Announcement of Top 5 Finalists who will attend the pitching session.

March 22nd 2014 • Pitching Session before the full panel (of both Main and Guest Judges) at the Hall of Awesomeness in the Mindvalley HQ. • The winner is selected and announced following a private judges discussion once all pitches have been delivered.

Who is this Competition For?

This competition invites Malaysians of all backgrounds – regardless of gender, ethnicity, faith, privilege, association or academic background.We are looking for the smartest, most driven and innovative Malaysian mind – be it in the field of science, technology, entrepreneurship, education, finance, medicine or the arts to represent the country on a global scale and play a big role in making Malaysian history. He or she should have:

  • Proven entrepreneurial experience or demonstrated leadership, and committed humanitarian passion.
  • An entrepreneurial track record (in the form of extracurricular activities during study, internships, active involvement in a society or organization, or start-up company experience).
  • An original and unique solution leveraging exponential technologies to tackle challenges faced by 1 million Malaysians.

Previous winners from past competitions, organized in various countries across the globe have addressed healthcare, the environment, disability, career and social growth through creative, innovative and sustainable technology. Here are some of the highlighted ideas and projects that made it through the Global Impact Competition 2013 in different countries across the globe:

Past Winners of the Global Impact Competition

Zezan Tam, Australia

Project: Created an application that encourages carpooling by creating a system for people to coordinate car rides. This encourages the reduction of traffic congestion and pollution.

Aleksandra Orchowska, Poland

Project: Gamified diabetes education for children. This application allows the player to explore symptoms and self-care options in an entertaining and educational way.

Alejandro Abarca Blanco, Mexico

Project: Semka’s first product is a CTC Isolator Chip & Control Unit focused on cancer detection and monitoring of MTCs cells before metastasis begins.

Who is Eligible to Join?

Applicants must be:

    • Malaysian citizens aged 21 or older (as of January 1st 2014)
    • Fluent in English (both in speech and writing)
    • Available for the Idea Pitching Session before the competition judges at the Hall of Awesomeness in Mindvalley, Kuala Lumpur on March 22nd 2014
    • Available for the Singularity University Graduate Studies Program intake from June-August 2014

Note: Applicants may apply as an individual or as a team, but only the leader (as elected by the team) will be sent to Singularity University should the team win.

If you have any questions, please view our FAQs here.

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About Project Renaissance

Project Renaissance is a 10 year project by education company Mindvalley to ‘hack’ cities to unleash the full potential of their inhabitants. In Kuala Lumpur, our focus is entrepreneurship and we’re looking to put KL on the map as one of the top 10 places in the world to launch a startup — within 10 years. This implies creating an entire Silicon Valley inspired ecosystem of incubators, accelerators, education programs and initiatives to transform the entrepreneurial DNA of the city.

Learn more about the company >>

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