Singapore is launching a S$1 billion (~US$717 million) innovation fund to help companies with strong intellectual property strategies to grow and expand overseas, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) has announced.

The Makara Innovation Fund, a partnership between IPOS and local private equity firm Makara Capital, will invest up to S$150 million on each of 10-15 “IP-rich and high-growth potential” companies from all over the world, including Singapore. The initiative will help these companies to use their IP rights as assets for financial investment.

IPOS also announced updates to the 2013 IP Hub Master Plan. These updates are in response to recommendations by Singapore’s Committee on the Future Economy, which identified IP as a “key driver” of economic growth.

New initiatives in the master plan will double the number of skilled IP experts to 1,000 over the next five years. It will also look increase the pay for IP jobs by 30%. Furthermore, IPOS will engage with local innovators and businesses to help them identify and understand their IP. The office will work with 1,500 companies over the next three years.

“The IP Hub Master Plan is the blueprint for developing Singapore into a global IP Hub in Asia,” said Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance Ms Indranee Rajah. “IP is going to be an important enabler of Singapore’s growth moving forward.”