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SMU Signs MOU with Kajima to Jointly Develop the Built Environment Sector and Shape Future Cities

  • Kajima Asia Pacific Holdings Pte. Ltd. (a wholly-owned Singaporean regional subsidiary of Kajima Corporation, Japan’ leading construction and real estate firm) hereinafter referred to as “Kajima” will provide sponsorship of $300,000, in cash and in-kind, towards the support of students and startups through the global university startup challenge Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition and Business Innovations Generator incubation programme, both managed by Singapore Management University Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

  • SMU and Kajima will also convene a Global Built Environment Discussion Panel and launch a new book prize for top graduating SMU students who have contributed to the growth of Singapore’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem

  • SMU students will be exposed to career opportunities within the built environment sector by leveraging on Kajima’s expertise and resources embedded in SMU’s curriculum

  • The MOU epitomises Kajima’s commitment to promote careers in innovation, entrepreneurship and the built environment sector for students, and to provide a gateway to business opportunities and funding for startups

Singapore Management University’s (SMU) Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE) today announced a three-year partnership with Kajima Asia Pacific Holdings Pte. Ltd., a wholly-owned Singaporean regional subsidiary of Kajima Corporation, Japan’ leading construction and real estate firm (Kajima). As part of the public-private partnership, SMU will receive a sponsorship of $300,000 in cash, training, and usage of facilities to foster innovation within students and to strengthen the startup ecosystem in Singapore.

The MOU heralds an era of deepened collaboration that combines the strengths of SMU and industry in providing a fertile ground for entrepreneurs to thrive. By structuring opportunities for students to productively engage with opportunities and challenges in the built environment sector, students are empowered to shape the future of smart, livable cities. The Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition (LKYGBPC), organised by SMU IIE, is a prime example. With the sponsorship of the Kajima Built Environment Innovation Prize, SMU IIE aims to inspire interest in Built Environment among startups to catalyse innovations that shape how people live, work and play.

The largest of its kind in the region, the upcoming 11th edition of the LKYGBPC focuses on deep-tech solutions created by student founders and early-stage start-ups from across a diverse range of industries, including Human Health & Potential, Manufacturing, Trade & Connectivity, Media & Entertainment, Smart Nation & Digital Economy, as well as Urban Solutions and Sustainability, among others. In June 2023, 50 revolutionary finalists (RVLT50) teams will be selected and two members from each team will be eligible for a sponsored trip (airfare and accommodation) to Singapore to attend BLAZE, LKYGBPC Finals Week from September 11-15, 2023, where they will have the opportunity to participate in activities centred on innovation, knowledge, mentoring and networking over the course of a week.

The exposure offered by SMU strengthens Kajima’s position as an innovative leader within the Built Environment sector, providing Kajima with a pipeline of talent and startups to grow the built environment ecosystem. Through the subject experts and resources offered by Kajima, SMU will also be able to enrich the understanding, learning, and teaching of built environment within its curriculum.

SMU Prof Lim Sun Sun, Vice President of Partnerships & Engagement and Mr. Keisuke Koshijima, Managing Director of Kajima signed the MOU at a ceremony held at The Greenhouse, SMU’s co-working space for Business Innovations Generator’s startups and home to more than 500 entrepreneurs, innovators, and researchers.

Prof Lim said, “At SMU, we proactively forge partnerships with industry to augment our students’ learning. Collaborations with leading global innovative trailblazers like Kajima allow our educators to bring in real-world context and inspire curiosity to address the world’s most pressing problems. Kajima’s strong tradition of innovation and commitment towards talent development makes this partnership especially valuable for our community. We are confident that this partnership will enrich students’ learning journeys, and introduce excellent opportunities to startups in terms of resources, funding, networks and knowledge. It will also pave the way for research collaborations between Kajima and SMU faculty.”

Speaking on behalf of Kajima, Mr. Keisuke Koshijima said, “Our partnership with SMU in the development of the Built Environment sector is testament to our long history of driving innovation. A key part of that is our commitment to invest in the development of young talents and supporting startups with the necessary tools and resources that can empower them to succeed.”

“We are honoured to strengthen our ties with SMU with this first-of-its-kind strategic partnership, which will offer the talents needed to reimagine the way things are built and used around the world. We are very excited to put this partnership to work, and confident that the built environment sector’s future will reap significant gains from it”, he added.

Kajima’s sponsorship will support SMU in the following areas:

  1. Kajima Built Environment Innovation Prize for the 11th Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition The Kajima Built Environment Innovation Prize will be awarded, based on selection by members of the Kajima Group including subsidiaries expanding worldwide, to the most innovative business plans / technologies / start-ups / early-stage ventures that are relevant to real estate development and construction projects. The award winner will receive not only opportunities to demonstrate the concept in actual projects in Singapore or Japan, but also the budget required to develop and execute their plan. Kajima will also work with SMU IIE to organise the Global Built Environment Discussion Panel to discuss and promote innovations within the industry during BLAZE, LKYGBPC’s Finals Week.

  2. Kajima BIG Startup Award Built environment startups incubated by Business Innovations Generator will be eligible for the Kajima BIG Startup Award. The awarded startup(s) will be offered a six-month residency at The GEAR and access to data from buildings managed by Kajima.

  3. Kajima Innovation Book Prize Graduating top SMU students with demonstrated achievements in innovation and entrepreneurship within built environment will be eligible for the Kajima Innovation Book Prize. The collaboration will also enable Kajima to tap on research capabilities within SMU to advance interdisciplinary research with direct relevance to the built environment.

  4. Research Collaboration Kajima to tap on research capabilities within SMU to advance interdisciplinary research with direct relevance to built environment and offer data from buildings managed by Kajima to members of SMU faculty, undergraduate and postgraduate students for research purposes.

At the event, Kajima provided updates on The GEAR, their company’s upcoming new regional headquarters and first global innovation centre which occupies a 5,235 square meter plot at Changi Business Park. Kajima has invested nearly S$100 million to develop the 6-storey building spanning 13,052 sqm of gross floor area. Since the Ground-breaking Ceremony in August 2020, the project is on track to meet its expected TOP in the first quarter of 2023.

The GEAR will house Kajima’s 200 local staff and welcome a wider community of built environment innovators and disruptors to co-locate at its open innovation hub on level 3. Equipped with 18 distinct testbed zones for new solutions, and 5 laboratories, namely, the Human Centric Design Lab, Construction Robotics Lab, Digital Tech Lab, Environment Bio Lab, and Underground Space Creation Lab, The GEAR is touted to become a living lab for experimentation, exploration, and co-creation. This partnership will allow for active collaboration and access to The GEAR for startups under SMU’s BIG, tours by the 11th LKYGBPC finalist teams, and other activities.

For more information about LKYGBPC, please visit:

For more information about BIG, please visit:

About Singapore Management University

Established in 2000, Singapore Management University (SMU) is recognised for its disciplinary and multi-disciplinary research that address issues of global relevance, impacting business, government, and society. Its distinctive education, incorporating innovative experiential learning, aims to nurture global citizens, entrepreneurs and change agents. With more than 12,000 students, SMU offers a wide range of bachelors, masters and PhD degree programmes in the disciplinary areas associated with six of its eight schools - Accountancy, Business, Economics, Computing, Law and Social Sciences. Its seventh school, the SMU College of Integrative Studies, offers a bachelor’s degree programme in deep, integrative interdisciplinary education. The College of Graduate Research Studies, SMU’s eighth school, enhances integration and interdisciplinarity across the various SMU postgraduate research programmes that will enable our students to gain a holistic learning experience and wellgrounded approach to their research. SMU also offers a growing number of executive development SMU Classification: Restricted and continuing education programmes. Through its city campus, SMU focuses on making meaningful impact on Singapore and beyond through its partnerships with industry, policy makers and academic institutions.

About SMU IIE:

The Singapore Management University’s Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE) is a practice-oriented institute that nurtures changemakers and founders who aspire to make the world a better place. To achieve this mission, IIE focuses on its three areas of competencies which include customised training programmes, Business Innovations Generator - an equity-free incubation programme, and fostering a cohesive innovation and entrepreneurship community through activities such as its marquee event – the Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition (LKYGBPC).

LKYGBPC derives its name from Singapore’s founding Prime Minister, who developed the country’s defining business plan that propelled Singapore onto the global stage. It is this spirit of entrepreneurship, innovation and ambition that the competition enshrines. The event invites the brightest minds from the world’s most entrepreneurial universities to come together to address the challenges of the 21st century and reimagine the future.

About Kajima Corporation:

Kajima Corporation (鹿島建設株式会社, Kajima Kensetsu Kabushiki-gaisha) is one of the oldest and largest construction companies in Japan. Founded in 1840, the company has its headquarters in Motoakasaka, Minato, Tokyo. Kajima's services include design, engineering, construction, and real estate development. Kajima builds high-rise structures, railways, power plants, dams, and bridges. Its subsidiaries are located throughout Asia, Oceania, Europe, and North America. Kajima is current building The GEAR, will conduct R&D and open innovation on advanced construction technologies, as well as testbed sustainable and wellness technologies.


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