Press release

Tech for Good – Aruna Wins Alipay-NUS Enterprise Social Innovation Challenge for Using Digital Technology to Raise Incomes of Fishermen

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The Alipay-NUS Enterprise Social Innovation Challenge (“Challenge”),
jointly launched by Alipay, the world’s leading payment and lifestyle
platform, operated by Ant Financial Services Group (Ant Financial), and
NUS Enterprise, the entrepreneurial arm of the National University of
Singapore (NUS), today announced Indonesian start-up Aruna as the grand
finals winner. Aruna was chosen based on its use of digital technology
to help fishermen in Indonesia improve their livelihoods through better
market access and fairer trading opportunities.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:

Professor Wong Poh Kam, Senior Director, NUS Entrepreneurship Centre (1st from the left); Jing Huang ...

Professor Wong Poh Kam, Senior Director, NUS Entrepreneurship Centre (1st from the left); Jing Huang, Senior Director, Head of 10×1000 Tech for Inclusion programme, Ant Financial (2nd from the left); and Mehmet Mumcuoglu, Regional Portfolio Manager, Financial Institutions Group in East Asia and the Pacific, IFC (5th from the left) presenting certificates of recognition to the finalists of the Alipay-NUS Enterprise Social Innovation Challenge.(Photo: Business Wire)

Recap of Alipay-NUS Enterprise Social Innovation Challenge

Most of Indonesia’s 2.7 million fishermen live under the poverty line
and contributed 25 percent to the national poverty rate, the Antara news
agency reported this month, citing data from the country’s Marine and
Fisheries Ministry.

By connecting fishermen and potential customers through Aruna’s online
platform, the start-up is able to dramatically reduce transaction costs,
helping the fishermen raise selling prices by as much as 20%, while
buyers can pay up to 15% less. Aruna has served 1,701 fisherman groups
in 16 provinces.

“We are very excited. This is the first time we have won international
recognition for our work. We will next work on further growing our team
and help more fishermen out of poverty,” said Farid Naufal Aslam, CEO of

Aruna will receive a total of S$60,000 as the grand finals winner, while
the other eight finalists from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia will
walk away with S$10,000 each. These nine start-ups will also be given
support from NUS Enterprise, Alipay, special partner International
Finance Corporation (IFC), and other supporting partners of the
Challenge, to further develop their ideas.

“Southeast Asia’s Internet economy is growing fast and is projected to
exceed US$240 billion in gross merchandise value by 2025. Against the
backdrop of this rapid digital transformation, there is great potential
and immense opportunities to use technology to address issues in our
local societies,” said Professor Wong Poh Kam, Senior Director, NUS
Entrepreneurship Centre, a division of NUS Enterprise. “To create a
positive and sustainable impact on our society we need to encourage more
tech entrepreneurs to apply their entrepreneurial talents to solve
social problems with innovative technologies and business models. This
is why we are collaborating with Alipay to build a supportive
environment for nurturing such impact-driven tech entrepreneurs in
Southeast Asia.”

In addition to the cash prize, the winner and all other finalists will
benefit from the 10×1000 Tech for Inclusion programme, jointly
established by IFC, a member of the World Bank Group and Special Partner
of the Challenge, and Alipay. The comprehensive training programme
supports the cultivation of 10,000 technology experts in emerging
markets from both public and private sectors over the next 10 years.
Since its launch in October 2018, the 10×1000 programme has conducted
preliminary surveys to optimise its training modules and has hosted a
number of training and exchange activities.

“We believe technology is the greatest driver of social good in this
era,” said Geoff Jiang, Vice President, General Manager of Technology
and Business Innovation Group at Ant Financial.” Since the launch of the
social innovation challenge, we have seen some of Southeast Asia’s most
innovative solutions to address pressing issues, such as alleviating the
strain on societies that comes with a growing ageing population,
increasing income for fishermen and farmers, and effectively and
ethically managing waste. Building on the success of the Challenge, we
look forward to further supporting the teams under the framework of the
10×1000 Tech for Inclusion programme.”

The winner and all other finalists will also receive mentorship and
incubation support from NUS Enterprise for a period of three months, as
well as access to its BLOCK71, an ecosystem builder and global connector
community with co-working spaces in Singapore, Bandung, Jakarta,
Yogyakarta, Suzhou and San Francisco.

About Alipay

Operated by Ant Financial Services Group, Alipay is the world’s leading
payment and lifestyle platform. Launched in 2004, Alipay currently
serves over one billion users with its local e-wallets partners. Over
the years, Alipay has evolved from a digital wallet to a lifestyle
enabler. Users can hail a taxi, book a hotel, buy movie tickets, pay
utility bills, make doctors appointments, or purchase wealth management
products directly from the app. In addition to online payments, Alipay
is expanding to in-store offline payments domestically in China and
internationally. Alipay’s in-store payment service covers over 50
markets around the world, and tax reimbursement via Alipay is supported
in 35 markets. Alipay works with over 250 overseas financial
institutions and payment solution providers to enable cross-border
payments for Chinese overseas travellers and overseas customers who
purchase products from Chinese e-commerce sites. Alipay currently
supports 27 currencies.

About National University of Singapore (NUS)

The National University of Singapore (NUS) is Singapore’s flagship
university, which offers a global approach to education, research and
entrepreneurship, with a focus on Asian perspectives and expertise. We
have 17 faculties across three campuses in Singapore, as well as 12 NUS
Overseas Colleges across the world. Close to 40,000 students from 100
countries enrich our vibrant and diverse campus community.

Our multidisciplinary and real-world approach to education, research and
entrepreneurship enables us to work closely with industry, governments
and academia to address crucial and complex issues relevant to Asia and
the world. Researchers in our faculties, 29 university-level research
institutes, research centres of excellence and corporate labs focus on
themes that include energy, environmental and urban sustainability;
treatment and prevention of diseases common among Asians; active ageing;
advanced materials; as well as risk management and resilience of
financial systems. Our latest research focus is on the use of data
science, operations research and cybersecurity to support Singapore’s
Smart Nation initiative.

For more information on NUS, please visit

About NUS Enterprise

NUS Enterprise, the entrepreneurial arm of the National University of
Singapore (NUS), plays a pivotal role in advancing innovation and
entrepreneurship at NUS and beyond. It actively promotes
entrepreneurship and cultivates global mind-sets and talents through the
synergies of experiential entrepreneurial education, active industry
partnerships, holistic entrepreneurship support and catalytic
entrepreneurship outreach. Its initiatives and global connections
support a range of entrepreneurial journeys and foster ecosystem
building in new markets. These initiatives augment and complement the
University’s academic programmes and act as a unique bridge to industry
well beyond Singapore’s shores. For more information, please visit