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New Colombo Plan

Oliver Pang, Singapore 2017

New Colombo Plan alumnus Oliver Pang is part of the green technology innovation movement. And it is through the myriad of startups founded by passionate individuals determined to make a difference, that he believes global transformation can happen.

A University of Sydney Commerce graduate, Oliver co-founded GreenCoat, a startup developing plasma coating technology for energy-efficient smart windows.

Inspired by a shared passion for sustainability, Oliver partnered with biomedical engineer and researcher, Dr Behnam Akhavan, developing the idea through programs such as the University of Sydney Genesis Program and CSIRO's ON Prime – a renowned initiative fostering innovation from Australian research.

It was his New Colombo Plan mobility experience in Singapore that convinced him a well-planned start-up was something not only possible, but worth pursuing.

Portrait of Oliver Pang
NCP alum Oliver Pang. Credit: DFAT.

‘What I found in Singapore was an impressively vibrant, positive, start-up community, which had great energy and support from government and private investors,’ Oliver says.

It was an insight that stayed with him long after returning to Australia to complete his degree, and across his first graduate job focused on energy management and sustainability solutions with the multi-national company Schneider Electric.

‘My NCP cohort brought together people with different skillsets and perspectives, which made the whole experience exciting and full of learnings,’ he says.

And the opportunity to interact with Singaporeans of all ages and backgrounds – including so many young local entrepreneurs with innovative ideas – was inspiring.

‘Researching in an international context gave me an opportunity to develop unique skills, broaden my perspective on the ASEAN region and it taught me to think in ways I hadn’t done before.’

Years later, it was those insights and experiences that gave him the confidence to return to Singapore in September 2023 to compete in the Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition, where the GreenCoat team was named in the top Revolutionary 50 (RVLT50) start-ups.

‘I think Singapore provides a vibrant ecosystem for deep tech start-ups, one where all the right networks between government, universities, and industry are encouraged, to really nurture and then support young people with great ideas.’

‘It is an innovation and startup culture Australia can learn from.’

Oliver says his goal for the next five years is to establish GreenCoat in Australia before taking the company’s environmental innovation to the Asia-Pacific and then globally.

‘My NCP experience in many ways laid the groundwork for my entrepreneurial journey that eventually led me to co-found GreenCoat because it gave me the skills, experience and most of all, the belief that it was possible.’

Group photo of Oliver Pang with two key figures.
Oliver presents GreenCoat at CSIRO’s ON Prime program on the final day of presentation. Credit: DFAT.
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