Start-ups must learn from others
Singapore will always be home, but it is a very small market.
This is why expanding overseas has always been on the cards when Mr Henry Chan, 31, and his team of five started online cashback platform ShopBack 2½ years ago.
When users spend online through ShopBack, they get a portion of their purchase back in cash.
Mr Chan, its co-founder and chief executive, said: "If you are the food and beverage business, it can be profitable to feed six million people here. But as a technology company, it is different.
"A company in the US can provide services that Singaporeans can utilise. Their options are not limited to local players."
Today, ShopBack has established its presence in six countries, including Taiwan and the Philippines.
With more than two million users - over 350,000 here - the platform gets a transaction every five seconds.
This is what the Government hopes to help local companies do: Grow and transform through internationalisation.
In the Committee of Supply debate in Parliament yesterday, Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon said to scale and transform, companies here must leverage the strong Singapore brand to tap good growth opportunities beyond our shores.
One of the ways the Government helps is through grant schemes by IE Singapore, which promotes international trade and partners Singapore companies in going global.
As long as there's help, a start-up should take it, be it in terms of money, or people.Mr Henry Chan, ShopBack's co-founder and chief executive
Last year, the agency helped companies in more than 37,000 cases, with small and medium-sized enterprises accounting for about 80 per cent of them. ShopBack was one of the beneficiaries of IE Singapore's grant schemes last year.
Mr Chan and his team also sought help from the National University of Singapore Enterprise, which runs an incubator programme and agencies such as JTC Corporation.
He told TNP: "As long as there is help, a start-up should take it, be it in terms of money or people.
"As individuals, how much do we really know? You have to learn from others' wisdom.
"As a start-up, you need all the help you can get." - FOO JIE YING