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In Singapore, exponential technologies flourish and forward-looking policies are being established to address development challenges

Paramita Dasgupta's picture
Singapore delivers for its talented entrepreneurs by extending assistance, financing, and incentives. In the last decade, Singapore has invested more than US$22 billion into helping companies develop and test new products and solutions. As a result, the number of start-ups in Singapore multiplied from 24,000 in 2005 to 55,000 in 2014.
 
Photo Credit: Mike Behnken

Today, 40 percent of all start-up acquisitions in Southeast Asia take place in Singapore, and in 2017, the country ranked first in Asia and 7th worldwide in the Global Innovation Index released by INSEAD, Cornell University, and the World Intellectual Property Organization. Global recognition has not led to complacency. This year, Singapore established the Global Innovation Alliance, a network of Singapore and overseas partners in major innovation hubs and key demand markets, with a focus on technology and innovation - providing up-and-coming ideas more exposure around the world.
 
According to Singapore’s Minister for Industry, S. Iswaran, who spoke in October during the World Bank Group-sponsored Global Innovation Forum, the Government of Singapore believes in establishing strong foundations to nurture innovation in the long run. This includes developing a conducive regulatory environment, investing in R&D capabilities and creating an ecosystem that can support the evolution of start-ups. Minister Iswaran noted that it is important to raise awareness that innovation can benefit all segments of society, and that all Singaporeans can contribute to fostering an innovative environment.
 
Singapore’s talent for innovation is evident in its research facilities. Facilities such as the Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre, where public sector research laboratories, academia and private sector players work together to promote the adoption of high-tech remanufacturing processes, and the National University of Singapore Enterprise’s Block 71, which is home to more than 100 start-ups, venture capital firms and tech incubators, highlight the conducive innovation ecosystem that enables private sector growth. The facilities are proof positive that public-private partnerships and an integrated, demand-driven science and technology policy can foster the growth of innovative companies.
 
Many of the countries we support through trade and competitiveness initiatives look to Singapore for inspiration. “My country is still lagging behind in terms of production processes, but innovation can help to bring us forward,” said Sirisamphanh Vorachith, Director General of the Department of Planning and Cooperation in Lao PDR’s Ministry of Industry and Commerce. Vorachitch attended the October Innovation Forum. “By coming to Singapore, I have learned some important lessons on how to help our SMEs innovate, survive and grow in this new area of technology 4.0.”
 
For our teams at the World Bank Group, Singapore’s advances in innovation and technology, as well the government’s commitment to supporting R&D, offers opportunities to share knowledge with other client countries in order to help create enabling environments for innovation and technology adoption, establish policy measures to support science and technology research, develop investment strategies for deep tech startups, and provide incentives for labor force retraining and skills development.

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