Business

P&G puts aside $12m to grow new Singapore-based businesses

Consumer goods giant says $8m will go to seed fund for employees to work on projects, business ideas

Consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble (P&G) is setting aside $12 million to grow at least three new Singapore-based businesses that will be scaled globally.

These could involve new brands, technology platforms and business models, it said yesterday.

P&G - the parent company of haircare brand Pantene and cosmetics brand SK-II, among others - added that $8 million of the investment will go to a seed fund for a team of employees to work on projects and collaborate with local enterprises on business ideas.

The investment is part of GrowthWorks, a venture-building unit within P&G, which was started last year and already has 130 ongoing experiments in the US. The remaining $4 million will go towards setting up the GrowthWorks team in Singapore.

GrowthWorks' Singapore launch marks P&G's largest commitment to the programme outside the US.

ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT

Announcing the move at the fifth anniversary of P&G's Singapore Innovation Centre in Buona Vista, the company's chief research, development and innovation officer Kathy Fish said: "GrowthWorks brings together the entrepreneurial spirit of a lean start-up and the scale and resources of a corporation.

"We aspire to innovate faster for our Asian consumers and to continue contributing to the innovation ecosystem here in Singapore," she said of the investment.

The investment was made in partnership with Singapore's Economic Development Board.

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who also spoke at the launch, said P&G's partnerships with smaller local firms are already helping to build Singapore's innovation capacity.

For example, it collaborated with healthcare manufacturer Racer Technology in a magnetic wand for skincare brand SK-II to increase the absorption of its products' ingredients, said Mr Tharman, who is also Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies.

On setting up GrowthWorks, he described it as a move to "internalise disruption" - not just innovating for existing businesses but growing new ones and scaling them up through Singapore.

P&G's Singapore Innovation Centre employs about 500 researchers, engineers and PhD holders.

BUSINESS & FINANCE