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Building a platform for growth in Singapore

Written by Jens Boehm on 13 September 2018

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Singapore aims to become an innovation-led economy. EEN is helping 15 AI and digital companies showcase their expertise in this gateway to Asia

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sunrise at the marina in singapore with the iconic building merlion

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Singapore is one of the world’s most business-friendly environments - and a nation that is committed to becoming an innovation-led economy. So for many small, innovative UK companies it could be the ideal gateway to the wider Asian market.

 

That is just one reason why Innovate UK's Global Business Innovation Programme (GBIP), delivered by Enterprise Europe Network (EEN), is taking 15 innovative companies involved in cross-cutting AI and digital technologies to Singapore. It is the latest in this series of targeted sector visits, all of which are designed to connect internationally-minded innovative companies to potential partners and customers in some of the world’s most exciting markets.

 

As part of their GBIP visit, all participants will showcase their innovations and what they can offer at TechInnovation 2018 and Singapore Week of Innovation and TeCHnology (SWITCH).

 

A regional centre for multinational corporations

 

The GBIP visit provides small companies with an excellent platform to showcase their expertise and develop partnerships with MNCs. Singapore is a conduit to south east Asia but it also a centre of expertise.

 

More than 7,000 multinational corporations (MNCs) have established their regional head offices in Singapore; indeed, it is the fifth-largest country in the world in terms of the density of MNC headquarters. Companies such as Rolls-Royce, Shell and P&G have located cutting-edge manufacturing and digital innovation facilities there. Although the population of Singapore is only 5.6m, the nation manufactures six out of the world’s top ten prescription drugs and 40 per cent of the world’s hard disk drives.

 

Potential for regional expansion

 

Participant companies on GBIP also have the opportunity to learn about the potential for regional expansion. As a key startup hub in Asia, Singapore has a vibrant investment ecosystem with incubators, accelerators, research institutes, investment funds, government agencies and numerous other community enablers. The talent pool is highly developed, with internationally renowned academic institutions such as National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University attracting and producing many qualified engineers and computer scientists.

 

The aim of the Global Business Innovation Programme (GBIP) is to help companies establish international innovation collaborations and to overcome barriers when trying to enter global markets, whether that be finding partners for joint R&D projects, accessing new markets through technology partnering or attracting foreign investment to support the commercialisation of UK technology.

 

Support from key partners in Singapore and UK

 

The visit has been arranged working with key partners in Singapore including IPI Singapore and the Singapore Economic Development Board, as well as with the British Embassy and the UK Department for International Trade.

 

The visit is just one element of the GBIP. Prior to the visit, the participant companies are briefed by sector and market experts and hear first-hand from previous delegates about their experiences. They are advised on the cultural aspects of conducting business in Singapore. This “getting ready for market” phase ensures the businesses understand the market, how to operate in the market, understand the target sector/technology in the country, and receive help to find partners and arrange meetings in advance.

 

Participating companies are provided with bespoke one-to-one support via an Enterprise Europe Network Adviser. The EEN adviser will help develop and implement an action plan to ensure the company and the UK economy derive maximum benefit from the programme of support.

 

There are already many strong ties between the UK and Singapore. The companies on the GBIP will be in a better place to develop these opportunities as a result of their visit.