Singapore

Government taps on private companies to mentor high-potential tech start-ups

Government taps on private companies to mentor high-potential tech start-ups

Private companies are being roped in to help the Government identify highly-promising technopreneurs and tech start-ups that can contribute to Singapore's future growth.

They will also mentor these start-ups, notably from fields such as artificial intelligence, cyber security and digital health, and match them with the right government funding programmes.

Yesterday, 17 of these accredited mentor partners (AMPs) were unveiled by Spring Singapore.

These AMPs are part of the Startup SG scheme, which was announced in March to streamline the administration of all government funding programmes. They include Singapore-based private investment firm Focustech Ventures; The FinLab, a joint venture between UOB and a unit of the National Research Foundation that aims to groom start-ups; and Israel-based incubator Trendlines Medical Singapore.

Mr Edwin Chow, Spring Singapore's group director of industry and enterprise, said the Government wants to send a signal that there is "no wrong door" when seeking help.

"We want to move away from an agency-centric way of giving help and funding to start-ups."

Spring Singapore is the central administrator of Startup SG, which has a five-year budget of $220 million for equity in deep-tech firms and grants to first-time entrepreneurs.

For instance, the Government will co-invest 70 per cent in qualifying start-ups, capped at $4 million, and first-time entrepreneurs can receive a $30,000 grant.

Mr Chow said involving the private sector in grooming tech start-ups is in line with one of the Committee on the Future Economy's recommendations released in February.

Startup SG is a part of plans to increase the pool of high-potential start-ups with operations in Singapore from 4,800 to 8,000 in 10 years' time.

The start-ups can contact the AMPs at www.startupsg.net.

The current batch of such start-ups includes ride-matching service provider Grab and e-tailor Lazada.

Mr Kelvin Ong, chief executive officer of six-year-old Focustech Ventures, which is among the 17 AMPs, said the Government wants to participate in deep-tech fields such as medical technology, clean technology and advanced manufacturing.

"There is a need for domain experts from the private sector to help identify such start-ups with potential," Mr Ong said.

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