Sudsy solution to pesky problem

Sudsy solution to pesky problem
Secondary 1 students Tan Hui Ying (left) and Patricia Seow (right) from the Raffles Girls' School team "SWAT Team" entering the Singapore Discovery Centre Youth Entrepreneurs Competition (YEC) 2014 finals making their mosquito repellant liquid soap.

Their target? Mosquitoes.

With their special weapon, these four Raffles Girls' School (RGS) students hope swatting tactics will be unnecessary.

The Secondary 1 girls' product idea: Mosquito-repelling liquid soap.

But it is more than an idea; it will become reality at the YOUTHphoria event next Saturday at Singapore Discovery Centre (SDC).

The SWAT Team is one of 29 teams who will compete in the Youth Entrepreneurs Competition (YEC) finals during the event.

On the day, the finalists from each category (Secondary and post-Secondary) will be given a sales booth to promote and sell their products or services.

A panel of judges will assess the teams' business ideas on that day. There is also an online and on-site voting component.

Three winning teams will be selected from each of the categories. They stand to win cash prizes of up to $1,500.

Gayathri Basker, 13, saw the YEC announcement on the RGS portal where students are encouraged to view and register for upcoming competitions.

She roped in her three classmates, Tan Hui Ying, Patricia Seow, both 13, and Roshni Kantaria, 12, to form a group.

To get product ideas, they asked their schoolmates, in a survey, what annoyed them. One memorable response was a tirade about mosquitoes, which led to the idea of a mosquito repellant.

Hui Ying's experience in making soap bars as gifts inspired them to make a repellant soap, but in liquid form.

Gayathri said: "Liquid soap is more common and also easier for mixing ingredients."

Hui Ying added: "We experimented with different recipes found online and tried different brands of soap as the base. We did research and learnt lemon grass, rosemary, lavender and peppermint scents repel mosquitoes."

They also tried to use as many natural ingredients as possible. But using raw plants made their soap go bad.

"We found essences that were 100 per cent pure and used those instead," Hui Ying said.

RECYCLED BASKETS

Another team who made it into the finals is Gan Eng Seng School E-Club (Entrepreneur Club).

The team will sell handwoven baskets of recycled magazines made by women from low-income households.

The students decorated the baskets.

All proceeds from the finalists' businesses will be donated to a charity of their choice and SDC's appointed charity, The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund.

We did research and learnt lemon grass, rosemary, lavender and peppermint scents repel mosquitoes.

- Raffles Girls' School student Tan Hui Ying on her team's mosquito repellant soap idea.


This article was first published on June 21, 2014.
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