Media Resouces
Mapletree supports aspiring entrepreneurs to bring ideas to real life at Singapore’s largest student-led startathon, Ground Zero 2023
18 May 2023

SINGAPORE – Reinforcing its corporate social responsibility’s education pillar, Mapletree Investments (“Mapletree” or “the Group”) is pleased to support Ground Zero 2023, the largest student-led startathon held annually in Singapore. Organised by the National University of Singapore (“NUS”) Entrepreneurship Society (“NES”), the prize presentation ceremony was graced by guest-of-honour, Ms Sun Xueling, Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs & Ministry of Social and Family Development on 13 May.

Ground Zero is the flagship event of NES’s Startup Development Division, and it aims to gather entrepreneurial-minded students to ideate and innovate solutions to solve real world problems. Held from 8 to 13 May, the event was opened for students from all tertiaries and faculties and provided a platform for participants to learn, network and hone their entrepreneurial skills.

“Mapletree has been supporting the education sector in several forms, from providing bursaries and book prizes to endowed gifts, as well as funding entrepreneurial competitions like Ground Zero. We recognise that students have many ideas but may not have the experience and means to build on their ideas. I am happy to learn that Ground Zero 2023 gives the students the opportunity to connect with selected incubators and accelerators to take their idea forward, and possibly into the commercial space,” said Mr Edmund Cheng, Chairman, Mapletree.

This year, participants were given the opportunity to select an area of focus and come up with a startup idea from the ground up and pitch it, all within one week. The four areas of focus are Industry 4.0, Sustainability, Healthcare, and Consumer-centric. This was a new concept for the event which traditionally provided participants with problem statements to propose solutions to.

For this iteration of Ground Zero, the event was supported by a network of over 50 mentors, speakers, and judges. Additionally, NES also invited angel investors and incubators to attend the event and scout for talents amongst the participants. This increases the participants’ opportunity to bring their innovations from competition to early-stage commercialization.

“NUS Entrepreneurship Society is grateful for the support from Mapletree as well as the other sponsors and partners in making sure Ground Zero becomes a launchpad for student entrepreneurs to take their first big step in turning their ideas into a startup. The world is becoming more complex each day, and only by innovation can we keep up with the times. As aspiring entrepreneurs ourselves, we can’t help but be inspired by the quality of pitches by the participants and we hope to have inspired them as well to carry on making a difference,” said John Russell Himawan, Vice President, NUS Entrepreneurship Society.

A total of 75 teams participated, and the three winning teams, Flex, and impressed the judging panel with their pitches. They were awarded cash prizes of $5,000 (First Prize), $3,000 (Second Prize) and $2,000 (Third Prize), respectively. More information on the winning teams can be found in Additional Notes.

Mapletree supported Ground Zero 2023 by providing venue sponsorship, hosting a total of 234 participants in MBC’s Town Hall on 8 and 13 May 2023. Additionally, Mapletree also extended its support to the top three finalists with the S$10,000 cash prize pool. Mapletree previously also supported another event by NES, UNICON 2023, a student-led conference for young entrepreneurs across Asia.


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Photo credits: Mapletree Investments 

  MOS Sun Xueling with the top three winning teams, representatives from Mapletree, Ground Zero and judges on 13 May 2023

  Mapletree’s Group Chief Corporate Officer, Mr Wan Kwong Weng delivered the welcome address at Ground Zero on 8 May 2023


MOS Sun Xueling (first row, fifth from right) with the finalist teams, representatives from Mapletree, Ground Zero and judges on 13 May 2023

MOS Sun Xueling interacting with participants of Ground Zero on 13 May 2023


Natalie Tong    
Mercy Immanuela
Senior Executive, Corporate Social Responsibility
  Senior Executive, Corporate Communications
Mapletree Investments   Mapletree Investments
Tel: +65 6807 4045
  Tel: +65 6377 6169


Headquartered in Singapore, Mapletree is a global real estate development, investment, capital and property management company committed to sustainability. Its strategic focus is to invest in markets and real estate sectors with good growth potential. By combining its key strengths, the Group has established a track record of award-winning projects, and delivers consistent and high returns across real estate asset classes.

The Group manages three Singapore-listed real estate investment trusts (“REITs”) and seven private equity real estate funds, which hold a diverse portfolio of assets in Asia Pacific, Europe, the United Kingdom (“UK”) and the United States (“US”). As at 31 March 2022, Mapletree has assets under management of S$78.7 billion, comprising office, retail, logistics, industrial, data centre, residential and student accommodation properties.

The Group’s assets are located across 13 markets globally, namely Singapore, Australia, Canada, China, Europe, Hong Kong SAR, India, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, the UK, the US and Vietnam. To support its global operations, Mapletree has established an extensive network of offices in these countries.

For more information, please visit


Founded in 1992, NES is the Premier Tertiary Entrepreneurship Organisation in Singapore

NES promotes entrepreneurship at the National University of Singapore to empower the next generation of entrepreneurs. The society is a hub for entrepreneurship with an abundance of learning and networking opportunities. We organise large conferences, hackathons to bring our members closer to the business community. We aim to foster the spirit of entrepreneurship with our growing network of alumni through the sharing of expertise and knowledge. NES has produced an illustrious list of alumni entrepreneurs and changemakers in various industries.

Additional Notes

Winning Teams

Details of team
First Prize winner (S$5000)

Team Name: Jin.Co 
Focus area: Consumer-centric 
Description: makes health snacks using cultural superfoods like ginseng and dates. Their goal is to bring today or modernity into traditional products for a new generation.

Second Prize winner (S$3000)

Team Name: Flex 
Focus area: Healthcare
Description: Flex is a tech company focusing on leveraging the power of AI to eliminate sports injuries and provide fitness guidance for everyone.

Third Prize winner (S$2000)

Team Name:
Focus area: Sustainability
Description: provides a dynamic price tag solution for retail stores to help retailers increase revenue while reducing waste. Their price tags are paired with a cloud database and AI technology to offer the best price for products, based on expiration date and inventory levels.


Judges of Round 1 of the pitching competition on 11 May

Wang Donghai
Venture Development Manager at NUS GRIP

Hussein Sulaiman
Programme Head of BLOCK71 (Indonesia & Vietnam)

Nick Chung 
Team Lead at NUS Enterprise (Deep Tech)

Kevin Leung
Associate Director at NUS GRIP

Lionel Lee
Senior Programme Manager at NUS Enterprise

• Seow Hui Hong
Ecosystem Builder at NUS Enterprise

• Claire Keung
Community Manager, Aquatech Centre, NUS Enterprise


Judges of the final pitching competition on 13 May

Lai Choon Huong
Assistant Manager, Investments & Assets Management 
Mapletree Pan Asia Commercial Trust Management

Dave Ng
General Partner 
Altara Ventures

Tancy Tan
Chief Operating Officer

Anni Cai
Sequoia Capital SEA

Phik Ming Lim
Angel Investor
Epic Angels