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This article was contributed by the Institute of Technical Education (ITE).
Travelling with toiletries can be inconvenient – full-sized ones are bulky while travel-sized ones are not environmentally friendly because of increased packaging.
A cross-functional team from ITE College East’s Nursing, Mechanical Technology and Business Services courses attempted to solve this issue with Podables – portable pods containing soap flakes that will dissolve upon contact with water.
"The idea came about when we saw the demand for travel-sized toiletries and the large amount of plastic waste being generated because of it," explained Perren Ong, Business Services student and team leader of Podables.
These small and compact pods are light and don’t take up space, making them easy to carry around.
Even though travel restrictions are in place, these pods will come in handy when you are out and about since hand hygiene is of even greater importance now. For example, when public restrooms run out of soap, Podables can be your backup!
The creation of Podables was not easy though. The production process was unfamiliar to Perren, who had almost zero knowledge on engineering.
"We were fortunate as we were able to learn from and consult experienced lecturers from the mechanical engineering course. They guided us through the research process, prototyping and testing," said Perren.
With the product in place and marketing strategies picked up from the #startable workshops, the team managed to sell 400 of these since Dec 2020.
Team Podables is one of the winning teams of this year’s #startable, an entrepreneurship programme jointly organised by NTU, the Chua Thian Poh Entrepreneurship Education Fund and ITE.
There were 6 teams in the finals which were held on 27 May 2021. Three emerged as the top teams and the rest took home the merit awards. Each top team is rewarded with $1000 cash prize while each merit team takes home $500. In addition, all six teams will be given a $5000 grant to turn their business ideas into reality.
Other finalist teams and their business ideas were Banded Central with a Uniquely Singapore card game; AI Memories with digital AI artwork; Kitchen Backyard with gourmet sauces; Team Rookie with a multi-functional hanger; and Splash Apparels with upcycled, tie-dyed items.