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STPI Leads 20 Start-ups to Singapore to Gain International Entrepreneurial Experience

2019/11/01

The Singapore government has introduced several initiatives for start-ups in recent years, many of which provide incentives and financing schemes for foreign entrepreneurs, such as cash grants, business incubators, government-backed loans, and tax deduction schemes. As Singapore attempts to become the biggest incubator for start-ups in Southeast Asia, it is actively building itself into the Silicon Valley of Southeast Asia. The practice of star-up accelerators led by the Singapore government initially follows the stages of incubation, acceleration, and maturity, but now the order of the first two is reversed, prioritizing acceleration over incubation.

The visit to Singapore arranged by STPI from June 6 to July 6 was intended to observe how Singapore’s start-up ecosystem tests the accelerator theory and adjusts itself. The visit of 20 tech start-up groups to Singapore to participate in the largest forum and exhibition for start-ups in Southeast Asia was co-organized by Taiwan Tech Arena (TTA) and related projects. Among the 20 groups, ten chosen by Taiwan Innovation &Technology Arena (TITAN) were selected by the National University of Singapore (NUS) to join its training program. The program includes courses introducing entrepreneurial resources and a four-week training and activities for start-ups at Block 71, a new official start-up hub in Singapore.

NUS Enterprise at Singapore Science Park

NUS Enterprise, which provided the training program, plays the pivotal role of applying various laboratory and research outputs at NUS to the market for obtaining commercial value. NUS Enterprise provides a full spectrum of resources for entrepreneurs, including entrepreneurship-related courses, office spaces, incubator and accelerator, funding and technical supports, as well as activities for developing entrepreneurial networks. In terms of the training program, NUS Enterprise collaborates with 12 colleges around the world to undertake the Overseas Colleges (NOC) Programme, which selects and sends students to different countries around the world for entrepreneurship courses and internships so that these students could start their businesses once they return. The three office spaces are located in Science Park, Block71, and the NUS hamper; and the incubator and accelerator network consists of more than 40 partner-enterprises such as LOREAL and DBS Bank. The entrepreneurial projects in collaboration with large enterprises cover a wide range of industries, including seaport businesses, aviation and tourism, medicine and health care, cybersecurity, energy industries, financial technology, travel services, and beauty industries.

The ten start-up groups selected by NUS Enterprise has taken training courses in market analysis, strategies for business expansion in the U.S. and Southeast Asia, skills in fundraising pitches, target market, investment network, and operation management. These groups also held entrepreneurship and investment forum in the U.S. and Singapore to attract the attention of global entrepreneurial angel investors. It is hoped that these training courses and the exposure to the global market could inspire these start-up groups to come up with innovative ideas for entrepreneurship and be able to provide qualified workforce and funds as well as market networks for Taiwan’s tech start-ups once they return to Taiwan. With their hands-on experiences, these trained groups could serve as role models and encourage Taiwan’s young start-ups to take root in the local startup ecosystem while looking to branching out to the global market. The ten selected groups are: Applato, F.Repair, Magical Headlamp, MDS, Sounds Great, ucfunnel Co., Ltd., 3drens, Neurobit, Transfer Helper, and Dapp Pocket.

In addition, these groups also co-organized a roadshow with the Singapore-based startup media platform, e27, in the final week of the training program. During the roadshow, the groups pitched their ideas to the angels, venture capitals, potential business partners, and business representatives to showcase themselves in the hope that international fund institutions could get to know more about them. Dr. Yuh-Jzer Joung, the Director-General of STPI, also represented Taiwan to join in the conversation with the venture capital representative of Singapore, during which Dr. Joung introduced how Taiwan facilitated its start-up development, readjustment, present outlook, and achievements. After the roadshow, our groups took the chance to exchange ideas with the Singapore-based venture capitals and SMEs as well as global startups to help promote and introduce Taiwan’s technologies to the Southeast Asian market.

STPI co-organized the roadshow with the Singapore-based startup media platform, e27.