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A Day in Singapore

The first day in Singapore, our third destination of the on-site seminar, was full packed of interesting visits. After celebrating the birthday of our accompanying lecturer Andreas Reber at midnight, the delegation came together early in the morning for an eventful day with not less than three company visits. For this occasion, the delegation dressed up in business formal for the first time since we are on the onsite seminar. Everyone was focused and very excited for another day full of interesting facts and information. The first company visit was  immediately a big one. After a short ride in the coach through the financial district of Singapore, we stopped in front of the offices of Credit Suisse at Raffles Link. Thanks to Deborah, one of exploreASEAN’s co-founder, we had the unique opportunity to get an insight in the impact investments of the well-known Swiss bank Credit Suisse. She is now working in Singapore for Credit Suisse and made this valuable experience possible. Credit Suisse is  the leading Bank in the Private Banking sector within Asia. Furthermore, the Asia Division of the Credit Suisse  focuses on entrepreneurship as well as impact investment. Impact investment is about actively placing capital in enterprises that generate a financial return and make a positive social and/or environmental impact. In a very revealing presentation, they showed us the big potential of impact investment as well as how impact investment can solve significant social issues. For the most of the delegation impact investment was not really known and after this visit, we were wondering why, because impact investment is such a sustainable way to invest money. After the presentation and all the new knowledge about impact investment we’ve got two case studies, where we had to work in groups to decide, if the case studies are impact investments or not. After showing the result of every group and a small discussion between the groups the visit by Credit Suisse was coming to the end. Because of the three visits, there was not much time for lunch. Fortunately, Kaltrina and David have organized sandwiches for the whole group. After a short break, we hopped on the coach and moved on to the next destination - The NEWater Singapore.

In a guided tour, we’ve learned about the water issues of Singapore. Singapore is a very small country with a high population per square meter. They have not enough land and too less drinking water. They are using 600 million litres of water per day. So the city faces some big issues in terms of water supply. The government did a lot of investments in the past and found a way to filter and clean used water. They call it NEWater. The brand name NEWater was given by Singapore's Public Utilities Board. More specifically, NEWater is high-grade reclaimed water produced from treated used water. It is purified with advanced membrane technologies, making it ultra-clean and safe to drink. The water is consumed by humans, but is mostly used by industries requiring high purity water. NEWater gave us the opportunity to visit one of the five water-factories in Singapore. We’ve learned a lot about the process, how they clean-up polluted water and make it drinkable again. The guided tour was designed very interactively and gave us some deep insights. For example, Singapore has four tabs to „produce water“:

  1. Catching the rainwater
  2. Importing water from Malaysia
  3. Desalinate water from the sea
  4. NEWater

The credo of NEWater is called, CONSERVE, VALUE, ENJOY. To sum up, it can be said that Singapore knows exactly, how they approach this big problem and  esnurethat today as well as tomorrow there will be enough water in Singapore.

Lust but not least, we went to the Future Cities Laboratory of the ETH Zürich. We met Dr. Remo Burkard from the Future Cities Laboratory of the ETH Zürich. The Future Cities Laboratory (FCL) was established by ETH-Zürich and Singapore’s National Research Foundation, and operates under the auspices of the Singapore-ETH Centre. It is the only one outside of Switzerland.

The centre has three domains of expertise:

  1. Cities
  2. Critical infrastructure
  3. Digital health

The fields of the research are very wide and bring a lot of new results for the city. As a hub, they can help to bring the development to a next stage.

Dr. Remo Burkard was a very interesting person and it was a big honour to meet him. He recommended us to spend at least one year in an Asian country to learn more how to make business there.

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