As Samsung Electronics celebrates its 54th anniversary globally on 1 November 2023, Sangho Jo, President and CEO of Samsung Electronics, Southeast Asia and Oceania has recently share his thoughts for the Southeast Asia and Oceania (SEAO) region.
He believes that Samsung’s mission is devote their talent and technology in creating innovative products and services that contribute to the betterment of global society. While being the global leader in technology, he also believes the company also have a responsibility to leverage their innovations, skill and knowledge to bridge the widening digital divide and give more youths the opportunity to reap the benefits of digitalization.
The company also saw rapid growth in the digital economy especially for the SEAO region thanks to 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. With that say, the company is committed to empowering 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
This year, Solve for Tomorrow (SFT), Samsung’s 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.
The 2023 edition of SFT is still ongoing in several SEAO markets, but Sangho Jo and Samsung 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, the young participants also receive training in soft skills required for the future workforce, including the 4Cs of 21st Century Skills – Communication, Collaboration, Critical thinking, and Creativity.
The company has estimated 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.
Recently, Samsung New Zealand announced its SFT 2023 winners. Sangho Jo felt especially heartened by the winning submissions that are the embodiment of why the company continue to dedicate their 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.
Apart from the SFT, Samsung 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. With SIC, the company 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.
Ever since the first launching in Indonesia and Vietnam in 2019, Samsung continue to ramp up their work in SEAO. This year, Cambodia and Laos were added to the program roster. To date, it is estimated 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. The company 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.
Below are additional Sangho Jo comments:
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.