Get Off the Ground: THE HANGAR Celebrates 5 Years

This story was first published in Issue 029 of Enterprise SPARKS, our quarterly newsletter, here (pages 7–8).

Start-ups in The Hangar by NUS Enterprise, a thriving hub for NUS entrepreneurs on campus. [All photos in this story are taken before COVID-19]

March 2021 marks five years since the opening of THE HANGAR by NUS Enterprise, the university’s on-campus incubator for student, staff and alumni start-ups. Since 2016, the facility has helped more than 220 ventures take flight, quickly becoming the go-to place for aspiring entrepreneurs to accelerate their ideas.

We take a look back at how THE HANGAR has grown, and the unique features that make it ground zero for NUS’ emerging technologies and companies.

1. #HANGARCommunity

Prior to the launch of THE HANGAR, NUS start-ups were housed in various bungalows and container units along Prince George’s Park. The opening of THE HANGAR enabled the aggregation of the community, making it the one-stop campus hub for innovators and ideas to intersect and collaborate.

2. Comprehensive Start-Up Support

More than just a co-working space & meeting venue, THE HANGAR has provided its incubatees with access to a full-range of support services, including expert mentoring, idea validation and test-bedding capabilities.

The latest offering? In 2021, THE HANGAR launched its four-week Booster Programme, combining knowledge-based workshops, masterclasses, consultative clinics, and community engagement and peer-learning opportunities to give start-ups an added lift.

3. Area51

It’s not classified: Area 51 is the place to be for hardware start-ups at NUS. Tucked at the rear of THE HANGAR, the prototyping zone has supported everything from drone technologies to ice cream capsule machines and astronomy cameras.

4. Kopi Chats

THE HANGAR has hosted over 1000 events in its time, but perhaps most iconic amongst them is the Kopi Chat series. Serving up in-depth dialogues with entrepreneurs and thought leaders (alongside a good fresh brew of local coffee!), the signature event provides meaningful insights into up-and-coming industries and trends relevant to the start-up community.

5. THE HANGAR extension

In 2018, The HANGAR was extended beyond its scissor gates. New public workspaces as well as mural art by Arttero were added to the first floor of the i3 building, encapsulating the spirit of the “imagineer.” Matching the vibrancy and creativity of its community, THE HANGAR’s colourful environment has helped position the location as the centre of NUS’ entrepreneurial activities.

THE HANGAR start-ups are diverse, innovative and dynamic. Here are just a few descriptions of the companies who have called the incubator home:

· A hand-crafted artisanal watchmaker

· A high-performance graphene manufacturer

· The world’s first transformable cargo e-scooter

· An autonomous drone-maker for precision pollination in indoor farming

· A start-up turning tofu whey into wine

· A space start-up developing next-generation hybrid rocket propulsion

· Wireless underwater solutions for communications and networking

All photos in this story are taken pre-COVID.

NUS Enterprise nurtures entrepreneurial talents with global mindsets, while advancing innovation and entrepreneurship at Asia’s leading university.