Channel NewsAsia

Government agencies committed to supporting vibrant start-up scene

The Singapore start-up scene is looking vibrant, especially in the high-tech space, and Government agencies say they are committed to building up a vibrant ecosystem for start-ups.

SINGAPORE: Singapore's start-up scene has reached critical mass to support and sustain growth, as venture capitalists and investors provide funding and exit opportunities.

Speaking on the sidelines of the IIMPACT 2014 conference on Friday (Aug 22), A*STAR's chairman, Mr Lim Chuan Poh, said this is especially true of start-ups in the tech space.

He said: "The tech space is a lot more mature in Singapore, mainly because we have people who have actually started companies they have succesfully exited, and they are playing the roles of mentors. The VCs (venture capitalists) are there, the VCs know that there is a lively start-up scene in the tech space, so there is a lot less the public sector needs to do. What we have to remain focused on is the talent generation."

A*STAR has incentive programmes to encourage its researchers to consider future commercialisation of their research, as well as the flexibility to leave public research temporarily to pursue their own start-up aspirations.

Meanwhile, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) has its own schemes, such as the Accreditation Scheme, which puts successful start-ups in a position to undertake Government projects. Through the help of Government agencies such as IDA and A*STAR, Singapore is committed to building up a vibrant ecosystem for start-ups - in line with its vision to become the world's first Smart Nation.

"There are many smart cities around the world, but there is only one Smart Nation, and that is Singapore. Singapore has the unique opportunity to be the world's first Smart Nation for the simple reason that we can unify all of Government, industry, university, people and policy. So we can bring the parts together. And we have the ability to do that uniquely, compared to any other country in the world," said Mr Steve Leonard, executive deputy chairman of IDA Singapore.

There has been a 60 per cent jump in the number of start-ups in Singapore between 2005 and 2012 to 39,000 firms. The hi-tech space also saw similar growth, with an increase of 60 per cent to 3,200 start-ups.