6 Business Ideas In Singapore That Emerged Due To COVID-19

While 2020 may have killed many companies, it has also sparked the birth of ingenious business ideas.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a window of opportunity for some businesses and it’s a time that has allowed them to pivot or start something new amid these trying times.

From using 3D technology to manufacturing personal protective equipment (PPE) to creating a digital health passport, here are the companies Covid-19 has inspired.

Face shield manufacturing, swab testing with 3D printers

When Covid-19 hit, 3D printing companies saw their revenues drop by at least 70% as customers cut their marketing dollars.

Amid a global shortage of PPE, a number of them have converted the majority of their 3D printing capacity and have joined the ranks in the production of PPE such as face shields, nasal swabs and surgical mask extenders.

3D printed face shield
3D printed face shield / Image credit: ECS Singapore
3D printed nasal swab
3D printed nasal swab / Image Credit: Creatz3D Pte Ltd

3D printing has helped us see for ourselves the possibilities of technology.

As a result, vital ventilators and respirators were 3D printed and delivered to other countries faster.

As a result, many companies are revisiting the way products are made and some are considering ways to bring manufacturing back locally.

Digital health passport to store your test results

Singapore is currently considering forming Air Travel Bubbles (ATB) with other countries, various green and expressway arrangements, and has since opened its borders to China, Australia and Taiwan.

It will allow travel without quarantine, provided the traveler’s Covid-19 test results are negative.

The Digital Health Passport app
Image Credit: Accredify

However, these results are published as physical documents, which can be easily altered, misplaced or lost.

Deep technology catalyst SGInnovate and blockchain start-up Accredify have teamed up to create a ‘Digital Health Passport’ – a blockchain-based solution and mobile app – that allows users to easily access and store test results digital Covid-19.

Since COVID-19 vaccines will soon be available to Singaporeans and travel will soon be a possibility, this passport will certainly play an important role.

Virtual home viewing capability

The AI-powered real estate portal MOGUL.sg leverages artificial intelligence, location data, and geospatial technology to streamline the home buying process.

They showcased their OneMap3D Beta technology – the first 3D virtual capability of its kind – at the 3D Virtual Property Expo held in October, marking a milestone for them.

3D view of Midtown Modern
3D model and view of GuocoLand’s Midtown Modern project, which has not yet been built / Image credit: MOGUL.sg

The technology is currently under development before it is officially launched.

This will allow users to see what unbuilt properties will look like when completed.

3D district
Browse the neighborhood around each featured property / Image Credit: MOGUL.sg

Homebuyers will enjoy immersive 3D tours of newly launched, but yet to be built, condominium projects and their surrounding environments.

They will also be able to enjoy the view from any floor and walk through the area of ​​the property to discover its amenities.

This could potentially transform the traditional concept of showrooms and minimize human contact during the pandemic.

From cancer detection tests to Covid-19 test kits

Diagnostic test kits to detect the Covid-19 virus were in high demand and needed to be produced quickly.

In addition, test kits were scarce in a context of high global demand, so it was not possible to source from other countries.

Singapore then had to rely on local companies like MiRXES to help close the gap. Establishing a local manufacturing base here in Singapore has given it full control over product quality and sourcing.

Strength kit
Strength Kit / Image Credit: MiRXES

Prior to manufacturing Covid-19 test kits, local biotechnology company MiRXES specializes in the production of a PCR-based molecular diagnostic product, GASTROClear, a blood test for the early detection of stomach cancer.

The processes involved in the manufacturing, basic detection methods, equipment and reagents used are similar to those of the Covid-19 test kit named Fortitude Kit.

MiRXES has stepped in to help increase Singapore’s Covid-19 testing capacity to 40,000 per day – one of the highest testing rates in the world.

As a result, Singapore was able to conduct mass tests to curb the spread of the virus.

From immunotherapy to vaccine development

Biotech startup Immunoscape specializes in high-dimensional immune profiling.

In other words, they study what T cell populations actually do and how they change when they respond to specific pathogens – bacteria, viruses, or other microorganisms that can cause disease.

Before Covid-19, 90% of their work focused on cancer, which is the second leading cause of death worldwide.

Covid-19 vaccine candidate
Image credit: Reuters

When it became clear that Covid-19 was going to be a global pandemic, they took “quick actions” to apply their technology to understanding our body’s immune response to the virus.

Since then, they have been studying how patients’ immune systems respond to the coronavirus and using this information to help them understand vaccine-induced immune responses in work with vaccine developers, including Arturus Therapeutics, based in the USA.

In June, Arcturus Therapeutics and Duke-NUS Medical School were approved to conduct clinical trials of the LUNAR-COV19 vaccine candidate by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA).

As a result, Singapore would own the rights to the vaccine here, while Arcturus Therapeutics would be free to market it worldwide.

Positive interim results have been announced and deliveries are expected to begin in the first quarter of 2021.

Asia’s first plant-based whole egg substitute emerged

When supermarket shelves were emptied amid episodes of panic buying, Float Foods co-founder and CEO Vinita Choolani was unable to get her hands on eggs or milk.

She realized that food security is a “huge problem in Singapore” exacerbated by Covid-19 and felt the need to find a better way to secure our food systems.

This sparked the idea of ​​creating a vegetable egg to meet Singapore’s annual demand for 2 billion eggs, 70% of which are currently imported from Malaysia.

Called OnlyEg, it is the first plant-based whole egg substitute in Asia that offers an egg yolk and egg white substitute.

onlyeg plant-based egg vs chicken egg
OnlyEg (top) and Chicken Egg (bottom) / Image credit: Float Foods

It uses legume-based substitutes for egg yolk and egg white, and is the first of its kind to achieve the level of likeness to a real chicken egg.

Currently, the nutritional benefits of OnlyEg are developed to be superior to those of a chicken egg.

Potentially, we could see OnlyEg available on supermarket shelves by 2022.

There is a silver lining

While most businesses have been severely affected by COVID-19, the pandemic has presented a business opportunity for some.

This gave birth to innovative business ideas that would not have come to fruition without the virus.

It is true that Covid-19 has revealed shortcomings that already existed before and forced people to rethink their manufacturing or business processes, making room for new solutions and methods.

There were needs before but there was less urgency to develop solutions. Thanks to Covid-19, he has forced companies to innovate and pivot.

Therefore, it is safe to say that Covid-19 paved the way for possibilities that we never knew existed. Thereafter, new opportunities like this are coming as we continue to adapt to changing needs.

Featured Image Credit: Dezeen / MOGUL.sg / Accredify / MIRxes / Float Foods / CGTN.com

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Jothi Venkat

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