SMU Trailblazers Changing the World One Idea at a Time

By the SMU Digital Marketing team 

From creating adaptive orthopaedic casts, to transforming plastic recycling, and revolutionising PTSD care, three members of the SMU community have demonstrated their resilience, creativity, and determination to become finalists in the esteemed Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition. 

With SMU as a launchpad, countless innovators have started their journey here at SMU. Join us as we celebrate the incredible achievements of Abel Teo, Oh Shu Xian and Nicholas Yap, and be inspired by the boundless possibilities that await you at SMU. 


Abel Teo: Producing adaptive orthopaedic casts with 4D printing

Abel Teo, an SMU Business Management alumnus, and his friends were on a mountain-climbing expedition when an accident happened, leading them to come up with a new type of orthopaedic casts.  


Left: Abel TeoRight: Castomize’s 4D printed orthopaedic cast

Left: Abel Teo
Right: Castomize’s 4D printed orthopaedic cast


The trio co-founded Castomize, a start-up that uses 4D printing technology to produce orthopaedic devices.  

“Initially, our prototypes were 3D printed casts, but after market testing, we realised the logistical complexities hindered adoption,” shares Abel. 

Unlike its 3D printed counterparts, 4D printed items can dynamically alter their shape, structure, or properties over time in response to external stimuli such as heat, humidity, or light.  

This means the casts can adapt to the patients’ limbs seamlessly, almost as if they’re tailored to each patient. These casts are also less invasive.  

For their revolutionary casts, Abel and his co-founders were included in the 2023 Forbes 30 under 30 Asia list (Healthcare & Science) 

“The recognition indicated we were on the right path,” Abel reflects. “The Forbes recognition motivated us to continue driving innovation, challenging the status quo, and making healthcare more accessible, effective, and less invasive.” 


Oh Shu Xian: Recycling plastic waste to construct greener roads

Oh Shu Xian, an alumna from the SMU School of Social Sciences, came from a family in the road construction and asphalt-manufacturing businesses. Growing up, she’s heard stories of her father’s attempts to transform the industry.  

Together with her sister, she co-founded Magorium, a start-up that uses a proprietary recycling technology to tackle the problem of conventional plastic recycling and breathe new life into the material.  


Oh Shu Xian and paved roads by Magorium

Left: Oh Shu Xian (left), Head of Business Development, and her sister, Chu Xian, Founder of Magorium
Right: DBS Newton Green Driveway – one of the five roads constructed by Magorium using plastic waste


Traditional plastic recycling necessitates the plastic to be cleaned and sorted by type. This results in only 6% of the plastic in Singapore getting recycled, as the rest ends up in incinerators.  

Meanwhile, Magorium’s technology converts all types of plastic to a sustainable material called NEWBitumen, which can be used to replace bitumen to construct greener roads. This consequently reduces the environmental harms of bitumen production.  

By the end of 2022, the start-up had successfully paved five of such green roads in Singapore, diverting more than 8,000 kg of plastic waste from incineration.  

Magorium is working hard to establish its presence in Singapore and envisions a global expansion in future.  

Reflecting on her journey so far, Shu Xian says, “In becoming a success story, we hope to inspire more people to challenge legacy industries and traditional methodologies so we can progress together as an entire society.” 


Nicholas Yap: Making PTSD care more accessible in Asia

An initial opportunity via LinkedIn led Nicholas Yap, a final-year SMU Business Management student, to come on board as the Chief Operating Officer of Savyn to spearhead its foray into Singapore and by extension, Asia.  


Nicholas Yap


Savyn, which started in Canada, aims to make post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom management more accessible for people without immediate access to a therapist. Currently, it guides users through various therapies, including breathing exercises to calm them.  

The platform also provides digital resources for them to understand more about trauma and identify their own triggers.  

“Over 1,000 patients have utilised the platform since initiation, reporting significant reductions in the intensity of their PTSD symptoms,” says Nicholas.  

As the platform set its sights on Asia, he worked on business expansion plans to bring the platform to Singapore and the region. This included plans to collaborate with local institutions within the mental health domain.  

Nicholas credits the influence of his SMU Professor Koh Hock Tee, whose “Leading New Ventures to Growth” module has helped him devise the expansion plans, taking into account Savyn’s company culture and the prevailing cultural norms here. 



Are you ready to embark on a journey of innovation and impact? Application closes 19 March 2024!