Monday, August 17, 2009

Promoting entrepreneurship development in Singapore: Ideas for the Economic Strategies Committee?

As some of you may be aware, the Singapore government has recently established a high-level, inter-ministerial Economic Strategies Committee (ESC) to develop and recommend strategies to grow Singapore’s future as a leading global city in the heart of Asia. You can visit the ESC website to get more details on the composition, scope and objectives of the ESC, which aims to put forward its key recommendations in January 2010 and will release its full report by mid-2010.

One of the sub-committees (Sub-committee 2) set up under the ESC is tasked to look into "Developing A Vibrant SME Sector And Globally Competitive Local Companies". Co-chaired by Mrs. Lim Hwee Hua (Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and 2nd Minister (Finance and Transport)) and Dr. Ricky Souw (CEO, Sanwa Group and President of Singapore Precision Engineering and Tools Association), this sub-committee will recommend strategies to:

* Develop a vibrant landscape of entrepreneurial activity
* Foster the growth and internationalisation of Local Globally Competitive Companies
* Strengthen synergies between small and large enterprises

The above issues are highly relevant to the future development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Singapore. In addition, there are several other ESC sub-committees that may cover issues of relevant interest to the entrepreneurial community, including Sub-committee 1 (Seizing Growth Opportunities), Sub-committee 4 (Growing Knowledge Capital) and Sub-committee 5 (Making Singapore a Leading Global City).

I would like to strongly encourage everyone in the entrepreneurial community of Singapore to contribute your ideas. You can do so directly by going to the online consultation page of the ESC website to submit your suggestions and feedback. If you like to share your ideas with others in the community so as the solicit comments and feedback from others, can I suggest that you also submit your thoughts as a response to this blog post -- hopefully we can then generate a healthy online discussion among the community.

I happened to be involved in a task force set up within NUS to provide inputs to the ESC, and so will be more than happy to not only participate in this online discussion myself, but also to champion some of the best ideas emerging from this online discussion (with appropriate attribution of course) through this channel as well. I look forward to your active contribution !

10 comments:

Steven Xie said...

The single only action needed is to jumpstart the creation of investor funds or even micro-funding pools. Smart minds take care of themselves. If Singapore won't invest in Singapore, they can get money elsewhere. Who you really take care of are those who can't, but still worth investing. To increase volume of ventures, you need to invest in these unfunded ideas, and you should get a few gems if you build mass.

Connect-the-dots@Singapore said...

The Singapore government has alreadt introduced several funding schemes like SPRING's YES and SEEDS fund and MDA's iJam micro-funding scheme for IDM, do you think that these are not enough?

Priyanka said...

Do the schemes also comprise of follow-up assistance or mentorship programmes? Also, from what I can tell, the criteria to apply for these grants are rather stringent and require full disclosure of business strategies which many potential entrepreneurs may be unwilling to do so.

Connect-the-dots@Singapore said...

That depends on the organization involved in administering the funding schemes. In the case of my centre (NUS Entrepreneurship Centre), which is one of the organizations working with SPRING on administering the YES scheme and MDA on the iJam scheme, we have a strong focus of providing mentorship.

Marmalade said...

Prof: “The Singapore government has already introduced several funding schemes like SPRING's YES and SEEDS fund and MDA's iJam micro-funding scheme for IDM, do you think that these are not enough?”

No, these schemes are not only not enough and the quantum not only too small, it is being miserly deployed e.g YES! Startups taps the $25 million Entrepreneurial Talent Development Fund (ETDF), hardly an exciting quantum, which has been in existence for 5 years and to run for another 5 years with funds of up to $50,000 per successful applicant. Their aim is to only support another 250 startups over the next five years, that translates to less than $12m in the next 5 years.

Similarly for BAF, SPRING SEEDS, iJam micro-funding scheme, how much of these funds have actually been invested? And, how are these start-ups doing?

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