Techinasia recently covered the outcome of ACE's 6 month discovery process of the state of Singapore's startups and came back with 10 recommendations. The full post is here to help with the context of what I am commenting on below. I have been known to chime in on such matters from time to time.
So let's do this.
1. Let private sector partners play a greater role in developing the entrepreneurial community.
2. Double the number of youths in overseas immersion programs to 400 annually.
3. Encourage schools to introduce tinker labs.
4. Unlock corporate venture capital and other private financing options.
Totally in support of this move to unlock more financing structures for startups, be it venture debt or tax incentives for large GLCs or private corporations when they invest. Government should also engage large corporations to invest and support Singapore based venture funds. This could be an indirect way to help serious corporates who are looking to set up their internal corporate venture arms.
5. More collaboration between large corporations and startups.
Agree. However, online platforms will not work in the short term. Do it the old fashion way. Curate the startups and qualify the large corporations with their interest/objectives/problem statements and make sure the decision maker sits in during the pitch meeting. Figure out what his or her agenda is within the large corporation (dig it out) to make sure no one is wasting the entrepreneurs' time.
6. Make Singapore a crowdfunding hub.
Agree. Why not? Whether its crowdfunding of projects like Kickstarter (not very likely to scale due to our market size) or equity crowd funding (if MAS allows). Singapore should be the epi centre for such model innovation. We would love to have Angellist base themselves in Singapore addressing Asia.
7. Help startups get better access to talent.
Agree with the intention and several suggestions. However, we do need more resources on the ground to train our next generation of innovators (like coding, ui/ux and growth hacking schools). That is more important than relaxing foreign employment regulations (although that needs a re-look right now).
8. Grow the physical spaces for startup activity.
Agree as well, this looks to be better suited as a Public/Private Partnership. The government subsidizes, the private sector design, build and manage. Just take note of the eventual location. The top locales so far are still: Blk 71. Chinatown/Tanjong Pagar/Raffles Place. Arab Street/Bugis/Middle Road. I think other hubs in other locations will be hard to achieve stickiness. Focusing on 1-3 hubs will suffice.
9. More government funding in nascent tech sectors.
Agree as well if there are deserved entrepreneurs with great ideas, they should be able to receive the same incentives. However, reality is harsh at times, it will take a while to move the needle.
10. Enhance programs that help startups expand abroad.
Well, I raise both my hands and feet. We are planning something big for IntroduceStartups.com tour soon. We have always advocated to startup founders to travel more and meet like minded people.
"Amazing shit happens when like-minded people meet". ;)
There you have it. Pretty mild thoughts from me this weekend.
Have a great weekend.
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