SINGAPORE: Singapore’s first cybersecurity-focused accelerator programme will be launched by the Infocommunications Media Development Authority (IMDA) and the Cyber Security Agency (CSA), in partnership with private sector entities like the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Singtel’s Innov8 venture capital fund.
This was announced by Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim during his ministry's Committee of Supply debates in Parliament on Tuesday (Mar 6).
According to the ministry's press release, the start-up hub is called the Innovation Cybersecurity Ecosystem at Block 71 (ICE71) and will be located at Innov8 and NUS’ co-working area at 71 Ayer Rajah Crescent. It aims to help grow cybersecurity innovation in the areas of cybersecurity entrepreneurs, start-ups, accelerators and cybersecurity-focused risk capital, it added.
ICE71, teaming up with Europe’s cybersecurity accelerator Cylon, will offer three programmes: Pre-accelerator bootcamp, accelerator training programme and landing pad for start-ups at various phases of ideation and development.
The bootcamp will be a five-day programme to help participants kick-start their entrepreneurial aspirations by turning their ideas into workable business models. It will be targeted at individuals from academia and industry, giving them the opportunities to network with potential co-founders and get insights from other industry experts, MCI said.
The accelerator training programme, meanwhile, is a three-month stint for early-stage start-ups when they will get access to talent, mentors, funding and local ecosystem events. It will equip them with knowledge in areas such as product design, scaling their businesses and securing investments, the press release said.
As for the landing pad, this is meant for later-stage start-ups, so they will have access to complimentary working space, testing facilities, regional markets and corporate support services. This, the ministry said, will help them scale in size and go to market sooner.
In all, the programme aims to train up to 100 individuals and accelerate up to 40 start-ups over two years. Singtel and NUS said in a separate press release on Tuesday that ICE71 will be opening in April this year, and those interested can find out more on ICE71.sg.
This initiative would also lend itself to other developments aimed at developing the country’s cybersecurity ecosystem.
One of these is the announcement of the Cyber NSF scheme as well as the Cyber Specialist Award, which is a work-learn programme for qualified NSFs to embark on a short-term contract with the Ministry of Defence and earn credits that would go towards an undergraduate degree at the Singapore Institute of Technology.
These skilled national servicemen, who might have intentions to develop their own cybersecurity services or products, could possibly tap on the accelerator to do so, Channel NewsAsia understands.
FUNDING FOR CYBERSECURITY PROJECTS
In addition to ICE71, Dr Yaacob also announced that CSA will introduce a Co-Innovation and Development Proof of Concept funding scheme for cybersecurity projects with the intention of catalysing innovative solutions to meet national and strategic needs, with a view for commercial application.
The scheme, to be managed by CSA, will focus on several aspects:
- Managed security services
- Consulting services such as governance, risk and compliance (GRC) and forensic services
- Internet of Things (IoT) security
- Identity, authentication and access management
- Cyber physical systems
The ministry said all Singapore-registered companies that are able to secure commitment from at least one security end-user can apply for the scheme, and CSA will provide funding support up to a maximum of S$500,000 for qualifying costs.
“Solutions from this scheme would help meet national cybersecurity demands, build and anchor advanced capabilities in Singapore, as well as aid the growth of local cybersecurity products and solutions,” MCI said.