Lactation pods pilot test to be set up across Sentosa
Pod creator Go!Mama is part of Republic Polytechnic's entrepreneurship ecosystem Epic
Come the end of the year, five lactation pods for breastfeeding mothers will be set up across Sentosa.
It is a pilot test for the pods, which are freestanding booths for breastfeeding mothers to express milk or breastfeed their children, designed by start-up Go!Mama.
Its co-founder Vivian Lee, 35, said: "For building owners who have structural difficulties and space limitations, it is very hard for them to add a space for lactation facilities.
"They can just call us up and deploy a pod - it's plug and play."
The company is one of 29 start-ups that Republic Polytechnic (RP) is actively working with. Out of these, 14 have taken up office space at a new facility set up by the institution to help support start-ups.
The polytechnic's Entrepreneurial Partnership and Innovation Community (Epic) aims to go beyond being an incubator.
It combines space for prototyping, co-working, and events with mentorship and funding programmes that cater to start-ups, including those that have already been incubated, like Go!Mama.
Calling Epic an "entrepreneurship ecosystem", RP said it is open to both students and non-students.
At the launch of Epic's premises yesterday, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing, the guest of honour, spoke of the ingredients needed for effective entrepreneurship education.
He said: "Innovation is a very disciplined pursuit of excellence, a very deliberate attempt at improving things, and most of the time, it requires a lot of hard work.
"This is one of the defining characteristics that I have seen in RP, which I believe will train the students to have this disciplined pursuit of inquiry."
He added that students need to have a deep sense of purpose that goes beyond themselves.
"Without a deep sense of understanding of the challenges faced by the community or the markets, it is impossible to innovate."
This was a sentiment that Ms Lee shared. She said Go!Mama interviewed 72 mothers to ascertain the problems faced in breastfeeding.
"The No. 1 problem (the mothers told us) is the lack of information about lactation spaces - mothers don't know where to find a lactation space, they don't know what is provided in the lactation space," she said, adding that the other two co-founders are mothers who breastfed their children as well.
"The second problem is the lack of conducive lactation spaces in the community and workplaces.
"For example, a lot of lactation space is actually linked together with toilets.
"Mothers are not prepared to use it because it smells like a toilet while you are trying to feed your baby. It's not hygienic, it's not conducive."
Ms Lee, who is a mother of two children aged two and seven, said the pods contain smart technology, like an app that tells breastfeeding mothers where the nearest pod is.
The pods will also use Singpass to verify the mother's identity, and feature automated ultraviolet light disinfection to ensure a clean and safe environment.