Enterprise Singapore (ESG) has partnered four leading energy companies, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell, to launch the inaugural Energy Open Innovation Challenge (EOIC) 2020 on September 3.

The challenge, which addresses 19 challenge statements, calls for innovative solutions to address industry-wide challenges in Asset Management, Robotics, Sustainability and Work Flow.

The EOIC will provide small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and startups the opportunity to pitch, develop and testbed their solutions with these corporates.

Shortlisted SMEs and startups will be able to work directly with the four companies to develop, refine and testbed their solutions on-site in Singapore and globally.

ESG says it will also provide eligible SMEs and startups with up to $1 million in grant support to ramp up the development of their solution so that they can build track record, scale up their business, and create good jobs.

The winner in each category of the challenge statements will stand to win a cash prize of $25,000, ESG adds.

This is the first time four energy companies have come together in such a collaboration.

ESG says that international energy companies have been looking to increase energy efficiency and incorporate more sustainable energy sources such as liquified natural gas (LNG) recently, with the “heightened need” to reduce carbon emissions and drive sustainability.

It adds that the Covid-19 pandemic, which has brought about mandatory safe workplace measures to minimise the spread of infections, has accelerated the need for adoption of new technologies to improve work flow.

 “The Covid-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of innovation in the Energy sector, and the value of enterprises coming together to solve industry challenges. The EOIC 2020 provides a common platform to facilitate opportunities for SMEs and startups to trial their solutions and build track record with these established energy companies,” says Ted Tan, deputy CEO of ESG.

“Likewise, corporates can adapt the innovative solutions according to their specific needs to tackle challenges and explore new growth opportunities. I hope this will spur more partnerships among large and small companies,” Tan adds.

Law Tat Win, the country chairman of Chevron Singapore feels that the EOIC is “a great platform for Chevron to collaborate with SMEs and startups to co-develop innovative solutions for our business”.

“Startups are nimble, have a growth mentality, and the capacity to work with available resources on hand. That mindset is what we need in today’s world,” Law adds.

Neo Ee Ee, refinery process manager at ExxonMobil Singapore, says ExxonMobil’s “collaborations in Singapore have led to several firsts for ExxonMobil across our global manufacturing circuit, and we are glad to partner with Enterprise Singapore in this effort to uncover even more digital solutions for our sector through this EOIC”.

Chong Leigh Hsiang, energy transition manager at Shell Singapore feels that “the expectations of society and customers for cleaner energy solutions are increasing”.

“To get to our net-zero emissions ambition by 2050 or sooner, the Open Innovation Challenge complements our efforts to co-create innovative solutions with startups and SMEs to grow the clean energy ecosystem,” Chong adds.