As an innovation hub for clean technologies, Singapore is leading the way to encourage sustainable entrepreneurship and innovation and illuminate the relationship between these fields. But how can corporations contribute to sustainable development? And is the role of the entrepreneur the key to their success? Hear three distinguished speakers provide their key insights on the topic, exploring both opportunities and obstacles for sustainable entrepreneurs in the region.


Edwin Khew: Chairman & CEO, Waztec Pty Ltd
BE (Chem), 1973; 2011 UQ International Alumnus of the Year

Edwin Khew is the Chairman and CEO of Waztec Pte Ltd, a global environmental waste technology and management company with its headquarters in Singapore. He is also a former Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) and currently the Chairman of the Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore (SEAS), the Vice President of The Institution of Engineers, Singapore (IES), a Council Member of the Singapore Business Federation (SBF), an Advisory Board Member of Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS) and Chairman of the Singapore Standards Council. Khew represents SEAS on the Asian Development Bank (ADB) lead Energy for All Partnership’s (E4ALL) Steering Committee as its Co-Chair and Chairman of its Enterprise Development Working Group. He has an Executive MBA from the National University of Singapore, a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Queensland, Australia, is a Fellow of the Institute of Engineers, Singapore, a Fellow of the Institute of Chemical Engineers (UK), and a professional engineer of the Professional Engineers Board, Singapore.

Kumaran Pillai: Chief Editor, The Online Citizen; Advisory Council Member, Tampines Junior College
BInfTech, 1997

Kumaran Pillai has been involved in more startups than he would confess to anyone. He started his first company at the age of 28 and not too long after graduating from The University of Queensland (UQ) with a degree in Information Technology, he attracted seed funding from the National Science and Technology Board.  In 2001, he found himself jobless when the company he started collapsed at the height of the dotcom bubble burst. He founded Protegesoft in 2002, which focused on providing portfolio optimization solutions to the banking and financial services industry. He found some success with his second enterprise. He is an internationally acclaimed technologist and innovator, known for his contributions to the Micro-Investment and Information Technology industries. He also serves on the board of innovative private companies and startup businesses.  Kumaran has built a reputation for his motivational speeches in the local and international circuits. He is also a coach and mentor for Microsoft’s Imagine Cup participants in the international league. His other notable achievements include winning the International Itanium Solutions Award and he was conferred the Highly Commended Alumnus by UQ in 2008 and the Letter of Outstanding Performance for Economics as an undergraduate. Kumaran is concurrently the Chief Editor of The Online Citizen, a leading socio-political website in Singapore. He also a member of the College Advisory Council of Tampines Junior College. 

Nigel Hembrow: Corporate Sustainability, ESD & Energy Efficiency – Asia, Amida Recruitment; Founding Member, The Hub Singapore
BE (Civil), 1999; GCUrb&RegPlg, 2002; GDipUrb&RegPlg, 2003

After seven years of engineering and project management in the Australian and UK property industry, Nigel networked, interned (in social enterprise development) and graduated from business school in Melbourne and Shanghai.  He then moved to Singapore to focus on the new venture and innovation industry beckoned. Nigel now focuses on high-potential and scalable new ventures, largely in the environmental sustainability solutions, web and mobile applications industry. Nigel is currently on the Global Alumni Council for Melbourne Business School, and is also the President of the Singapore Chapter.

Professor José L. Torero (Moderator) : Head of School, Civil Engineering, The University of Queensland
Professor José L. Torero is the Head of the School of Civil Engineering at The University of Queensland

He is a leader in the field of Fire Safety Engineering where he specializes in the behavior of fire in complex environments such as forests, tall buildings, novel architectures, tunnels, aircraft and spacecraft. He holds a BSc from the Pontifica Universidad Católica del Perú (1989), and an MSc (1991) and PhD (1992) from the University of California, Berkeley. Jose is a Chartered Engineer (UK), a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (UK) and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Jose joined The University of Queensland in 2012 following appointments as the Landolt & Cia Chair in Innovation for a Sustainable Future at Ecole Polytechnique Fédéral de Lausanne, BRE Trust/RAEng Professor of Fire Safety Engineering at The University of Edinburgh, Associate Professor at the University of Maryland and Charge de Recherche at the French National Centre for Scientific Research.

About Global Leadership Series

The Global Leadership Series (GLS) is a lively program of events for alumni and community members. Join us for lectures and discussions with the best of the best UQ-related speakers on matters that impact your community and shape your ideas of the world.

The series is an opportunity for you to engage with great minds on global matters, participate in thought-provoking discussions and network with UQ alumni and community members. All alumni, parents, community members and friends are welcome to attend the Global Leadership Series events.

Listen to podcasts of previous GLS events click here