While Singapore has invested significantly in innovation inputs, more can be done to bring innovations from research and development (R&D) to market, growing enterprises and expanding high tech exports.
Innovative technologies are disrupting existing business models. Characterised by the mass adoption of digital technologies and digital transformation, these technologies can reach new customers quickly at very low costs.
Enterprises therefore need to accelerate product development before their competitors beat them to the market, said Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister, Coordinating Minister for National Security, Chairman of National Research Foundation.
Speaking at the opening of Singapore Week of Innovation & TeCHnology (SWITCH) on 20 September 2016, Teo highlighted three focus areas for Singapore to grow its innovation and enterprise ecosystem.
Strengthen integration between industry and the R&D community
For the next five years (2016 to 2020), S$19 billion will be set aside for Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE). This is an 18 percent increase over the previous five-year plan.
Twenty percent (ie. S$4 billion) of the RIE2020 will be directed to industry-research collaboration for enterprises to capture the value of R&D.
Besides that, the National Research Foundation (NRF) will launch two more consortia:
1. The Singapore Cybersecurity Consortium, which will draw on research from the National Cybersecurity R&D Programme.
2. The Singapore Consortium for Synthetic Biology (SINERGY), which will draw on the Biological Design Tools and Application Programme.
These consortia will facilitate the growth of start-ups with deep expertise, and adoption of such technologies by local enterprises.
Strengthen support for Singapore-based enterprises
To strengthen support for Singapore-based enterprises, the government will work more closely to integrate their support schemes.
Over the next five years, S$4.5 billion will be set aside under the Industry Transformation Programme. This is on top of the amounts for R&D. These efforts will help the local enterprises innovation and internationalise their products and services.
For start-ups, Singapore has been supporting early stage investments and facilitating access to incubators and accelerators. For example, JTC's Launchpad @ one-north is home to more than 700 start-ups and 48 incubators.
Open and innovative urban environments are also provided to the start-ups to design prototypes. The Jurong Innovation District, Changi Airport Terminal and the new Tuas Port will provide real-life environments to test-bed solutions.
Strengthen connections between innovators and investors
To strengthen connections between innovators and investors, a new entity, SG-Innovate, will work with agencies to expand accelerator programmes to new and emerging sectors.
These sectors include Smart Energy, Digital Manufacturing, fintech, Digital Health, and the Internet-of-Things. Budding entrepreneurs can meet mentors, venture capital firms and access R&D talent.
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