By Sangho Jo, President and CEO of Samsung Electronics, Southeast Asia and Oceania

Throughout Samsung’s history, we have made it our mission to devote our talent and technology in creating innovative products and services that contribute to the betterment of global society.

As a global leader in technology, we also have a responsibility to leverage our innovations, skill and knowledge to bridge the widening digital divide and give more youths the opportunity to reap the benefits of digitalization.

Within the Southeast Asia and Oceania (SEAO) region, we are seeing rapid growth in the digital economy. This is fueled by factors such as increasing mobile penetration and social media usage, a booming e-commerce market, strong government push towards digitalization, and importantly, a population of young digital natives.

Youths are the future drivers for the region, both as consumers and innovators. As we celebrate Samsung Electronics’ 54 th anniversary globally on November 1 st , we remain committed to empowering our youth to meet the demands of the ever-evolving world, while at the same time, uplifting communities across the SEAO region.

Global Programs With Local Impact

In the spirit of co-prosperity, we are committed to doing our part as a socially and environmentally responsible corporate citizen in the communities that we are in, and as champions of innovation, we continually push ourselves to do better in inspiring the next generation through technology.

This year, we are excited to see Solve for Tomorrow (SFT), our global flagship STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) – based student competition, expand to more markets in SEAO, including Indonesia and the Philippines.

SFT is also making headway in the Pacific Islands, with Samoa and Tonga kick-starting local editions for the very first time in August this year.

More than 500 students in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, participated in a SFT workshop in June 2023.

The 2023 edition of SFT is still ongoing in several SEAO markets, but we are already seeing massive momentum in the region, with projects covering creative solutions to address real-life challenges in a variety of themes including environment and sustainability, learning and education, wellness, and healthcare, and more.

Beyond the technical competition element, our young participants also receive training in soft skills required for the future workforce, including the 4Cs of 21 st Century Skills –
Communication, Collaboration, Critical thinking, and Creativity.

We estimate that over 110,000 students and over 1,000 schools are benefiting from this program so far this year, through the competition, online and offline workshops, and other SFT-related activities.

(Watch video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W04pPr6Qejs)

For the 2021 edition of Solve for Tomorrow in Australia, students were encouraged to create fun videos that presented social issues of personal relevance while highlighting STEM-based solutions.

Tasmania-based Meg Phillips emerged as the overall winner, driven by her passion for animal conservation, with an RFID-based system to warn animals of approaching cars, with the aim of reducing wildlife casualties, as well as to keep drivers safe.

Recently, Samsung New Zealand announced its SFT 2023 winners. I am especially heartened by the winning submissions that are the embodiment of why we continue to dedicate our efforts for communities through this program.

For example, 12-year old Thomas Costar’s hydro turbine mechanism that helps to generate electricity through household drainage systems – the scientific approach that he took is a great example of perseverance and design thinking.

Samsung Innovation Campus participants in Cambodia working diligently under the guidance of mentors.

Beyond encouraging innovative thinking with SFT, we also want to empower the next generation with practical skills needed for success in an increasingly digital world. This is where Samsung Innovation Campus (SIC) comes into play.

Through SIC, we want to help youth develop real-world skills in the areas of AI, IoT, big data, and coding through formalized training programs, alongside other activities like
Innovation Hackathons and IoT Bootcamps.

Since first launching in Indonesia and Vietnam in 2019, we continue to ramp up our work in SEAO. This year, we are excited to add Cambodia and Laos to the program roster. To date, we estimate that over 8,000 students are participating in the program from 135 schools across Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam, along with significant interest from a number of national universities too.

We are encouraged by the incredibly positive feedback received from students on how the SIC program has helped change their perspectives towards data science, as well as helping them better navigate their education journey.

We are immensely appreciative and humbled by all the cooperation, support, and the sharing of information and learnings from the various governmental agencies and educational organizations who have graciously partnered with us on this journey.

These partnerships ensure that the local editions are tailored for the unique education needs of each community, enhancing the learning experience for students, and amplify the program’s impact across the region by increasing awareness of it and supporting its rollout in the markets.

There is no doubt that having passion for education played a significant role in the remarkable success that we have achieved in the spirit of co-creation with initiatives like SFT and SIC.

As an added plus, the activation of programs like SFT and SIC created more opportunities for Samsung to further contribute to local communities and education. For example, this year in Indonesia, we signed two agreements, one is with the Ministry of Religious Affairs of Republic Indonesia to roll out the ‘Samsung Digital for Indonesia’ program in support of the local smart madrasah program, and the other one with the Institute of Technology Bandung for developing digital technology on sustainable environmental conservation.
Looking to the Next 54 Years and Beyond At Samsung, we passionately believe that doing good is in fact, good business.

We are committed to ongoing community engagements and impactful contributions, to continue growing with the SEAO region. At the same time, we look forward to working together with future generations of innovators, encouraging them to be bold and push the boundaries of innovation to shape a brighter future – not just for the next 54 years, but for generations to come.