Arthur Guinness Fund Hackathon

With over 150 people attending the UP Singapore and Arthur Guinness Fund hackathon the participants contributed over 3000 hours of work. This amazing effort led to eleven teams presenting eleven amazing ideas at the conclusion of the weekend.  All of the teams came up with very creative ways to help single moms and ex-offenders.

The following two teams were shortlisted for their innovation and ability to meet the needs of marginalised women in Singapore. They stand to share in the $60,000 investment from the Arthur Guinness Fund.

Design UP

Fair Trade Jewellery

Pet Rangers

Training ex-offenders to provide low cost, professional pet services near to people’s homes.

Find out more about these teams.

About Arthur Guinness Fund

The Arthur Guinness Fund (AGF) is an innovative investment fund set up in 2009 and is dedicated to providing financial assistance to social enterprises around the world.

2012 is their first year in Singapore and they are partnering with UP to leverage our unique model and our passionate community to affect real social change. The UP team has identified local business Bettr Barista as the first social enterprise to receive funding from AGF. A donation of up to S$30,000 be used to help them develop their business.

On top of this donation, they have also allotted up to $60,000 in investment to support the best ideas generated at our hackathon weekend. This money will be awarded after the hackathon to teams with the most innovative and (most importantly) viable ideas. Teams will are encouraged to work with an existing social enterprise to put these ideas into effect, although completely new start up businesses will also be considered.

AGF Hackathon Theme

The Arthur Guinness Fund and UP Singapore made the decision to focus efforts on empowering marginalized women in Singapore. After much research, we narrowed this down to two groups:

Single Mothers

These two groups of women face both social and economic barriers to supporting themselves and their family financially. We are asking participants at our hackathon weekend to think of solutions – however big or small – that will help these women take steps to overcome these barriers.

Find out more about the issues at hand

This event is now completed. Feel free to have a read through the event information to get a flavour of what to expect from future UP Singapore events.


Friday 7th December – Sunday 9th December.
Participation is free (a $10 refundable deposit is payable upon registration) and open to over 18s only.

The weekend is designed to be a fun, inspiring way to collaborate with smart, likeminded people and potentially solve some serious issues. At least, we hope people will come away with a deeper understanding of the problems single mothers and ex-offenders face; at best, we hope to be awarding them with money to put their ideas into action.

To help those with families be able to attend, we will be running a crèche onsite from 10am – 3pm each day. Please email us at if you would like to register your children for the crèche.

Friday 7th December, 7pm – 10pm
The Hub, Somerset View map

We will open the hackathon with a keynote speech from Yap Kwong Weng, Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, who is also the Secretary-General of the United Nations Association of Singapore. He will discuss how social enterprise can be more effective than charity at helping marginalized communities.

We will also give an overview of challenges and experiences of single mothers and ex-offenders and give some inspirations for solutions to help solve these.

Participants will then be invited to pitch their ideas to the group, form teams and finalise what they will be working on for the weekend. If you’d like to pitch an idea on Friday, prepare in advance and distill it down to a short, clear proposition. You’ll get the floor for 1-2 minutes to convince other hackathon attendees to join with you for the weekend.

We encourage as many people as possible to come prepared with an idea to work on, but if not, don’t worry! Here’s some inspiration to get you thinking. These ideas are available for any hackathon participant to use, adapt or build on for the weekend.

6.30pm - 7.15pm: Registration

7pm: Dinner buffet

7.15pm: Speeches and inspirations

8.25pm: Pitches and team formation

10pm: End of event

Saturday 8th December, 10am – 7pm
Venue: 71 Robinson Road, Level 7, Singapore 068895
View map

Teams work together on their ideas all day. We will have expert seminars, mentor clinics, as well as support from roving experts. You will be able to sign up for all of them to discuss your projects on the day. Check out the schedule

Buffet lunch and afternoon tea will be provided, along with a supply of tea, coffee and water all day long. The Guinness Bar will be open from 4pm to keep those creative juices flowing.

What you need to bring

Your computer, workbooks, pens - anything you need to work through your ideas. We will provide food and drink as above, wifi access and plenty of comfortable team working areas. The air conditioning can be a little vicious, so please bring a jumper if you get cold easily.

Saturday Morning Technical Seminars

UPDATE: Thanks to everybody who presented on Saturday! We have uploaded all your presentations here!

Andrew Fam will be explaining his unique business model. TaskAmigo allows people who need help to outsource local, in person, tasks. He will be discussing case studies on their “task runners” and how the company is helping them. Andrew will be giving UP participants possible avenues to explore in their projects.

View TaskAmigo

Loring Harkness will be providing an introduction to digital outsourced micro-tasks using Mechanical Turk and Crowdflower. He will demonstrate how to break down large, complex jobs into small, simple tasks and how to ensure accurate results. He hopes UP Singapore AGF teams will use digital outsourced micro-tasks to manage their data sets and/or to employ single mothers and female ex-offenders

View Mechanicalturk View Crowdflower

Venus Wong, the co-founder of App Ninja, is a mobile designer who has helped many startups and businesses develop their mobile strategy.

She will be discussing about how teams can rapidly prototype their business ideas. She will also share how her startup, App Ninja, can help teams create professional-looking apps quickly by using the prebuilt iPhone app design templates they offer.

View App Ninja

Sunday 9th December, 10am – 3.30pm
Venue: 71 Robinson Road, Level 7, Singapore 068895
View map

10am – 12pm: Teams refine their ideas and work on their presentation.

We will run a series of presentation clinics during this slot, to help teams with their pitch and slide decks. You will be able to sign up for these over the weekend. Presentations must be kept to a maximum of two minutes. You can download the presentation template in PowerPoint and Keynote.

1pm – 2pm: Buffet lunch. Presentations MUST be handed in by 1.30pm to qualify for judging.

2pm – 3pm: Team presentations

3pm – 3.30pm: Judge’s deliberations.

3.30pm: Shortlist announced and celebrations.

Guinness bar will be open from 1pm.

Tips for your pitch presentation

Each team will have two minutes for their presentation and will not be allowed to go over this. Judges may ask for clarifications on your presentation or idea following your presentation.

You must put your presentation together using our slide template – you can download it in PowerPoint and Keynote. If you need to slot in additional slide designs to accommodate your presentation, please feel free.

You can present however you like, using whatever style suits the team. In order to have the best chance in front of the judges, we recommend that your presentation includes the following:

  • A one or two sentence encapsulation of your idea
  • Who it will help
  • Why it will help them
  • How it can be run as a sustainable business/project
  • Why it’s different to anything else out there
  • If you have a prototype or working demo of any part of your idea, please include it in your presentation.
Judging criteria

Ideas will be judged on the following criteria. It is also worth visiting the Arthur Guinness Fund website to get an understanding of the fund’s philosophy and previous enterprises which have successfully received funding.

Ideas will be judged on the following:

Meets the needs of the target group – 30%

  • Does the idea help to solve a challenge, or overcome an issue that our women face?
  • Will it help to make their lives better or easier?

Innovativeness – 15%

  • How unusual is the idea, or its execution?
  • Has anything like this been considered before?

Viability/sustainability – 25%

  • What is the potential of this idea to be a self-sustaining enterprise?
  • How will it make money/cover costs?
  • Is it logistically and technically possible?
  • Are there any legal or other barriers to implementation?

Scalability – 15%

  • What is the potential scale of the idea and how many people could it help / what is the level of impact on people’s lives?

Presentation quality – 5%

  • How effectively was the idea presented?

Overall team impression – 10%

  • A discretionary score which judges can use to rate their overall impression of the team, their idea, energy and skillset; as well as how well they think the team could execute the idea.
Investment Fund

We have an investment fund of up to S$60,000 to award to teams with the best and most viable ideas. The number of teams that will be pledged funding, and how much they will receive, will be decided once judges have seen all the qualifying pitches.

Money will not be awarded on the day. Investment will be awarded by the Arthur Guinness Fund to projects that sustainably help to improve marginalised women in Singaporean society, subject to the criteria of the AGF in Singapore.

Our main qualifying criterion is that the ideas can contribute towards a viable and sustainable business that helps our target beneficiaries. We must also believe the teams are capable of delivering and executing the ideas they have proposed. Teams may be guided to work with existing social enterprises to execute their projects.

All investment is at the discretion of the AGF and subject to mutually agreed KPIs. If no projects meet the AGF criteria this investment will be re-directed into existing social enterprises in Singapore.

If you have any questions on the investment fund and its disbursement, please email for more information.

AGF Hackathon Themes

The broad theme of the event is empowering marginalised women through social enterprise.

We are focusing on social enterprise over charity, because, if successful, the business is able to sustain itself and continually help people without having to rely on handouts. The Arthur Guinness Fund only invests in social enterprises which it believes to be sustainable, and the investments it makes are seed capital to allow the business to move forward or expand.

Our two groups of focus are single mothers and female ex-offenders. These groups may not receive as much support as they need from various areas of society. How can we give them a helping hand to earn a fair wage and support themselves and their families?

Have a look at our challenge inspirations to get the ball rolling. These ideas are available for any hackathon participant to use, adapt or build on for the weekend.

To support your thinking, we have researched some of the issues faced by our two groups of women. How can your ideas help to overcome these?

Single Mothers

Lack of affordable childcare options

  • Childcare is expensive and can often prevent single mothers from maintaining full-time jobs.

Lack of Relevant Skills or Education

  • Younger single mothers in particular, may not have had the opportunity to complete their education.
  • Obtaining new skills can be difficult because the mother’s time is so constrained due to the family’s dependence on her sole income.

Difficulty finding a well paying job

  • Many single mothers may not have previously been in the workforce, or have taken a long break
  • Finding part time work, or working from home can be difficult

Lack of Confidence

  • These women may feel that employers, and society in general, can discriminate against single mothers
  • Lack of education or job experience also causes these women to have low levels of confidence.

Lack of Support

  • Due to breakdown of family network, these women may not have familial support to rely on (emotional or financial)
  • Due to their time constraints (always working or caring for their children) they have little time to explore social support networks.

Lack of Relevant Skills or Education

  • Due to their previous lifestyle or prison sentence, the women may not have been able to complete their education.
  • Training opportunities while in incarceration are limited.
  • Lack of confidence in availability of opportunities post-training may discourage ex-offenders from engaging in such training programmes.
  • Because they cannot earn money while they train, people are discouraged from taking part in training.

Difficulty finding a well-paying job

  • Experience and education levels may be low because of their previous lifestyles and/or prison sentence.
  • They may not know how to go about finding a job that will accept an ex-offender.
  • Many employers will not trust an ex-offender in their workplace.

Lack of Confidence

  • Being labelled as an ex-offender by the system causes social stigma.
  • Lack of confidence in conventional employment- due to past experiences (e.g. illegal income mechanisms).
  • Being in prison may have caused damage to self-esteem.
  • Fear of the consequences associated with reoffending- this leads to hopelessness.

Lack of Support

  • Their families and friends may have abandoned them due to their incarceration.
  • Unstable support network prior to incarceration - this may have been a contributing factor to the original offence.

Facing Prejudice

  • Employers are often unwilling or unable, by law, to accept candidates with criminal records.
  • Prejudice inflicted on an ex-offender may discourage them from exploring training or job opportunities.
  • It is challenging for ex-offenders to reintegrate with society at large.

Solutions to these problems could be based around:

  • Business Plans
  • Ideas for additions to existing businesses
  • Applications
  • Websites/Portals/Community networks
  • Community services

Try to be realistic about what can be achieved through social enterprise.

We have also collected some statistics relevant to single mothers and female ex-offenders. Download the PDF here

Our Speakers

Kwong Weng Yap, Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and the Secretary-General of the United Nations Association of Singapore

He will be discussing how social enterprise can be more effective than charity at helping marginalized communities.

Mimmie Ong, Regional Head of Sales, SEA at Vdopia Inc.

She will be speaking on problems faced by single mothers in Singapore, sharing her own experiences.

Jason Aspes, Partner, Newton Circus

He will be speaking on issues faced by ex-offenders in Singapore

Pamela Chng, Founder, Bettr Barista

She will be talking about the challenges and opportunities she has had in the development of her social enterprise and will be sharing some of her own ideas on how this business model can help marginalised women.

Gary Luton, Vice President, Customers for Life,

Gary Luton, Vice President, Customers for Life,, will be giving an introduction to their foundation and sharing about how their tools are being used by social enterprises and non-profit organizations.

Our Mentors

Daryl Arnold, CEO Newton Circus

  • Area of Expertise: Innovation & Business Models
  • Ask Him About: Anything!

Jason Aspes, Partner Newton Circus

  • Area of Expertise: Advertising, Communications, Startups
  • Ask Him About: Business Viability & Marketability

Ciaran Lyons, Partner Newton Circus

  • Area of Expertise: Technology
  • Ask Him About: Web & Mobile, Persuasive Technology

ShiQi Wu, Strategic Partner Manager, Southeast Asia at Google

  • Area of Expertise: Digital Advertising, Internet tools, Entrepreneurship
  • Ask Her About: Digital Advertising and Publisher Tools, Available Tools to Help Businesses Grow

Mimmie Ong, Regional Head of Sales, SEA at Vdopia Inc.

  • Area of Expertise: Digital Sales & Marketing, Digital Media, Channel Management, Business Development
  • Ask Her About: Digital Marketing, Sales Pitching, Point of View as a Single Mother

Sidonie Viaud, Sales Operations and Strategy- APAC, Google

  • Area of Expertise: Marketing & Projects
  • Ask Her About: Online Marketing or Project Management

Kristin Ocampo, Director of Corporate & Curriculum Development- Girls in Tech

  • Area of Expertise: Advertising, Marketing, Social Media, Food, Kids, Business Models, Economics, Photography
  • Ask Her About: Anything!

Ling Fu, Founder at

  • Area of Expertise: Technology, Website Design
  • Ask Her About: User Experience, User Interface

Zubi Khawaja, CEO Atlantis City Holdings Pte Ltd

  • Area of Expertise: Finance
  • Ask Him About: Finance, Strategy, Business Plans, Marketing, HR, Operations

Eddy Chan, Chief Technology Officer, OgilvyOne Worldwide Singapore

  • Area of Expertise: Digital Strategy & Technology (Mobile, Social, ECommerce, etc)
  • Ask Him About: Anything Related to Digital Technology: How to Get Started, Costs, Planning, People, Development, Approach
Our Judges

Daryl Arnold, CEO Newton Circus

Graham Villiers-Tuthill, Guinness Marketing Manager, Singapore

Pamela Chng, Founder of Bettr Barrista

Douglas Abrams, NUS Business School Professor and Founder Expara (Singapore Government Backed Incubator)

Georgie Passalaris, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Diageo

Jacqui Brabazon, Managing Director, Head of Asia Marketing, Private Banking, J.P. Morgan

Siobhan Hamilton, General Manager Diageo Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines

Copyright 2014 Newton Circus Pte Ltd