Youths to harness tech and AI for inclusive, sustainable solutions at Tech4City

By Huawei

Huawei’s annual Tech4City competition returns with a call for youths to create AI-powered solutions that enhance digital literacy, promote inclusivity and sustainability, and contribute to Singapore’s digital development.

Jackson Kwa, Co-Founder at TechSociety and Career Coach at the Singapore Institute of Technology, encouraged prospective participants of the Tech4City 2024 competition to think of innovative ideas for digital solutions. Image: Huawei

After two successful editions of empowering youth to create innovative digital solutions for the betterment of society, Huawei’s Tech4City competition is now calling on young people to develop the best customised solutions that leverage on artificial intelligence.


The third iteration of the competition, which opened its call for entries on 26 March, will shortlist five finalist teams. These teams will vie for a Grand Prize of $20,000 cash, up from the SGD15,000 awarded to last year’s winners.


Individuals aged between 18 and 35 years old have until 9 June to register for the competition in teams of three to six members, with the aim of exploring innovative solutions that leverage AI to enhance digital literacy and contribute to the Singapore’s digital development.


Each of the finalist teams will also receive SGD2,000 and a chance to build their prototype with the support of Huawei and its partners, which include the Infocomm Media Development Authority, the Health Promotion Board and SG Enable.


An additional cash prize will be awarded to solutions that address real-world problems and specific issues, such as for the best innovation in mobility, sponsored by Tech4City’s industry partner SBS Transit.


Another industry partner, the Swan & Maclaren Group, is sponsoring two new awards, for “AI in Total Built Environment Adaptive Reuse and Rejuvenation” and “AI in Illumination and Immersive Entertainment”.

Inclusivity and sustainability

Huawei International CEO Maxi Wang said Tech4City was a continued commitment to enabling an inclusive and sustainable Singapore. Image: Huawei

Speaking at a launch event on 26 March, Maxi Wang, the CEO of Huawei International, highlighted Tech4City as a continued commitment to “fostering the co-creation of enabling an inclusive and sustainable Singapore.”


As new participants ideate and develop solutions under the two overarching themes of AI for Inclusivity and AI for Sustainability, they can utilise Tech4City as a platform to unleash their creativity and innovation and drive positive change, he said.


“Our continuous investment in talent development underscores our dedication as a global corporation to support Singapore’s efforts in paving the way towards a shared, sustainable future with cutting-edge technologies,” said Wang.


The competition launch comes after Singapore’s Ministry of Communications and Information announced fresh AI initiatives on 1 March to align with the National AI Strategy, or NAIS 2.0, announced last December, which aims to propel Singapore as a leader in the field of AI, and to tap on AI for the public good.


Previous editions of Tech4City have seen teams develop solutions around nature, culture, neighbour, well-being, learning, mobility, finance, and energy.


The first-ever winner of the Tech4City competition, a team of National University of Singapore postgraduate students, developed a “see your voice” smart glove prototype that translated a deaf user’s communication, or signing, into speech and text.

From prototype to market

At the recent launch, the leader of that team, Gong He, now CEO of the sign-language recognition technology firm FingerDance, shared how his company moved closer to commercialising its solution following Tech4City.


“Huawei has given us a lot of support, for example, connecting us to partners in their network, so that we can do more work in inclusivity,” said He, whose firm enrolled in the Huawei Cloud Startup Incubator Program (Spark Incubator) that was launched in November 2022 with IMDA’s PIXEL innovation hub.


“We look forward to collaborating with more like-minded friends from different industries to harness technology to make sign language available everywhere,” said He.


Calling Tech4City “transformative” in helping his team bring their idea “to the next level”, he urged participants in 2024’s Tech4City to think about how to use generative AI to support seniors or persons with disabilities.

Mentorship opportunities

FingerDance CEO, Gong He, and his team won the first-ever Tech4City competition in 2022 with a sign-language recognition solution. Image: Huawei

Also present at the Tech4City launch were Kelvin Kong, Executive Director at Mentoring SG, and Jackson Kwa, Co-Founder at TechSociety and Career Coach at the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT).


Mentoring SG, partnering Tech4City for the first time this year, will work with Huawei to empower local youth with more opportunities and access to mentoring.


Kong said that the theme of inclusivity can be interpreted as respecting people, while the other theme of sustainability means looking at the bigger issues at play.


“I would advise participants not to use tech as a starting point. Start with the people’s needs, and understand the pain points, before you overlay with AI,” he said.


“The projects participants embark on will be so impactful in making our world more inclusive and sustainable. I want to thank participants for taking this first step… in making this difference."  


Acting as a mentor already, Gong He offered some initial advice for participants seeking to create their prototypical minimum viable product, or MVP.


“First, you need to keep communicating with tens or even hundreds of your end users. Second, get the feedback and insights from your end users, they are your teachers. Third, learn how to convert those insights into features in your MVP,” he said.

Start your journey with an idea


The impact of the Tech4City competition extends beyond mere participation. It presents a slew of avenues for youth to hone their ideas and skills, including learning how to pitch effectively, as well as networking sessions, and tech skills-enhancement programmes.


There is also the opportunity for participants to get fast tracked into Huawei’s global programmes, and to take up potential internships.


TechSociety and SIT’s Kwa, offered simple and sound advice to prospective participants during his address to participants, “I encourage you to actively participate and think of an idea – because it all starts with an idea.”


Learn more about Tech4City 2024 and register at