SUSS and Alibaba Cloud to Spur Entrepreneurship With New Accredited Program

September 6, 2017

The Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) and Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group, announced today the launch of an entrepreneurship program to help local tertiary students scale up their start-ups. This is the first partnership between Alibaba Cloud and a local tertiary institution to jointly offer a university-accredited program.

The program comprises three compulsory components: participation in the two-day Alibaba Cloud Certified Professional ("ACP") certification program, participation in pitching sessions to investors organized by Alibaba Cloud and SUSS, and successful securing of funding. To complete the program, participants must successfully meet all three requirements.

Participants also have the option to read for free and without having to take examinations, any of the 500 SUSS modular courses that they deem relevant for their businesses. For the duration of the program, participants will have free access to Alibaba Cloud services. They will also enjoy mentorship by Alibaba executives as well as C-level industry experts who have extensive experiences relating to entrepreneurship.

Upon successful completion, participants who are SUSS students will be awarded a Minor in Entrepreneurship worth 40 credit units. Non-SUSS participants will graduate with a certificate and have their credit units recognized should they enroll in a SUSS degree program subsequently. Participants who are unable to secure funding at the end of the maximum duration1 will obtain a certificate of participation with no credit units. As long as participants have not exceeded the maximum duration of the program, they may keep trying to seek funding.

"SUSS has a suite of modular courses that can help participants to pick up functional knowledge and skills that they need in running and growing their businesses. However, to be a successful entrepreneur requires more than theoretical knowledge. Awarding credit units to successful program participants is the university's way of recognizing that effective learning can take place outside the classroom," said Professor Cheong Hee Kiat, President, Singapore University of Social Sciences.

"We are very excited to work with SUSS, who share our vision of developing the next generation of outstanding entrepreneurs. This program is another example of our commitment to provide the exciting drivers of change to start-ups with Alibaba Cloud's advanced technology as well as Alibaba Group's global resources," said Joey Tan, Head of Global Strategic Initiatives, Alibaba Cloud.

The entrepreneurship program is Alibaba Cloud's latest initiative to enable start-ups and foster talent development in the ASEAN region. In July, 15 start-ups from across the ASEAN region competed in the final of the ASEAN division of the Create@Alibaba Cloud Start-up Contest, which is dedicated to empowering start-ups with best-in-class cloud technology as well as access to a global cloud network.

For this entrepreneurship program, there will be two intakes a year and up to 20 teams comprising a maximum of three members will be recruited each time. Preference will be given to existing start-ups which are scalable, show potential for growth beyond Singapore, or meet pressing societal needs. To underscore their commitment to encouraging and recognizing entrepreneurship, SUSS and Alibaba Cloud will offer the courses of this program free of charge.

About Singapore University of Social Sciences

Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) is one of Singapore's six national universities and its mission is to provide lifelong education that equips learners to serve society. Home to more than 14,000 students, SUSS provides an applied education that targets both fresh school leavers and adult learners, with a focus on the social sciences. It adopts a flexible and practice-focused learning approach and offers more than 60 degree programs in various disciplines. Eligible students taking SUSS's undergraduate programs enjoy government subsidies and access to government bursaries, tuition fee loans and study loans. For more information on Singapore University of Social Sciences, please visit

About Alibaba Cloud

Established in 2009, Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group, is China's largest provider of public cloud services in 2016 by revenue, according to IDC. Alibaba Cloud provides a comprehensive suite of cloud computing services to businesses worldwide, including merchants doing business on Alibaba Group marketplaces, start-ups, corporations and government organizations. Alibaba Cloud is the official Cloud Services Partner of the International Olympic Committee.

Annex A – Fact Sheet on the Alibaba Cloud – SUSS Certificate/Minor in Entrepreneurship Program

1) Cost

There is no course fee. Participants only need to pay a one-time non-refundable application fee of $64.20 per person.

2) Intakes and duration

There are two intakes a year in January and July and up to 20 teams will be selected for each intake. For the first intake in July 2017, a total of xx teams comprising xx participants applied. xx teams, comprising xx participants, were selected to join the inaugural program.

Some basic profile of the teams/participants, such as whether they are students or members of public, age, type of start-ups or prototypes etc, will be included here. (SUSS to confirm statistics.)

3) Admission criteria

This program is open to individuals who have developed a working prototype or are running their own start-ups. They should also be:

i) A current full-time or part-time SUSS student; or

ii) A current student from other tertiary institutions, including polytechnics, who are above 18 years old; or

iii) A member of the public who fulfills SUSS CET admission criteria 2.

Participants may form a team of up to three people. At least one member of the team must be a current SUSS student (full-time, part-time or CET) or a Singaporean or a Singapore Permanent Resident.

4) Selection of participants

Teams who have applied will be shortlisted by SUSS to make a presentation about their start-ups or prototypes to a panel of judges consisting of representatives from Alibaba Cloud and SUSS. For the first intake, all applicants were shortlisted to present to the panel.

The panel will base their final selection on the following:

i) Uniqueness of the business concept

ii) Feasibility of the business model

iii) Strength of the management team

iv) Potential market value

v) Working prototype (preferred)

vi) Social impact (preferred)

Business proposals need to be scalable and show potential for growth beyond Singapore. Businesses including social enterprises that meet pressing societal needs will be preferred.

5) Completion of program

To successfully complete the program, participating teams need to secure funding for their businesses from any of the following:

i) Venture capitalists

ii) Angel investors

iii) Incubator programs

iv) Accelerator programs

v) Government grants or incentives

While Alibaba and SUSS will set up pitching sessions, participants are expected to actively seek funding on their own.

Neither Alibaba Cloud nor SUSS will take equity in the start-ups.

6) Mentors

i) Mr Brian A. Wong, Vice President, Alibaba Group

ii) Mr Joey Tan, Head of Global Strategic Initiatives, Alibaba Cloud International

iii) Mr Nicholas Lee Tat Meng, Chief Executive Officer, EZ-Link Pte Ltd

iv) Mr Michael D'Oliveiro, Country Manager, HOOQ.TV

v) Mr Ong Whee Teck, Chief Executive Officer, Trusted Source Pte Ltd

vi) Ms Shannon Kalayamitr, Founder and Former CMO, Orami

vii) Ms Virginia Yang, Head of Product,

viii) Ms Ayla Kremb, Business Development Manager, Catalyst Solutions

ix) Mr Sunil Rai, Partner, Corporate and Venture Technology and Emerging Entities Practice, Dentons Rodyk

x) Mr James Bitanga, CLO/Head of Joint Ventures, Reapra

xi) Mr Benjamin Lee, Advisor, Unicorn Factory

xii) Ms Debbie Watkins, Managing Director, APMEA, Fern Software

xiii) Mr Gerald Ang, Founder and CEO, Milieu

xiv) Ms Nellie Wartoft, COO, Unicorn Factory

xv) Ms Virginia Tan, Co-founder and President, Lean In China

xvi) Mr Rahul Golecha, Co-Founder & VP of Engineering, Videogram

xvii) Mr Jack Sim, Founder, BoP Hub, World Toilet Organization

1 Participants can either take this program as a Continuing Education and Training (CET) certificate program, or a Minor as part of their SUSS degree program. The maximum duration for completing this program as a CET certificate is 2.5 years. The maximum candidature period for taking this as a Minor will conform to the requirements of the Major SUSS degree program that the student is taking.

2 SUSS CET admission criteria are as follows:

• Minimum 18 years old; and

• GCE 'A' level with two passes (prior to 2006); or two H2 passes (from 2006); or local polytechnic diploma; or International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma with SAT I scores. If not, at least 5 GCE 'O' Levels and an interview.