Australia & Singapore join forces on startups

Joint incubator launched by business ministries.

Australia has launched a startup incubator in Singapore, with support from SGInnovate - an investment unit funded by the local government. The Landing Pad programme is run by the Australian Trade and Investment Commission, and is one of five around the world. The other four are in Berlin, San Francisco, Shanghai and Tel Aviv. The programme gives Australian startups access to a Singapore Government facility, BASH, for 90 days. It also sees the Australian Government help the startup find local business. Julie Bishop, Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs, told the press that “Singapore is a gateway into Asia and - speaking to a number of the Australians who are here in Singapore - they’ve certainly reinforced that Singapore is a great place for collaboration and for attracting the necessary capital.” Asked by GovInsider how she would know if the scheme is a success, Bishop said: “Clearly by the number of startups that are able to take their ideas further, and we are comparing with our other startup [incubators] across the world - we have five in total - there’ll be a competitive spirit between these startups.” “I feel very confident that having a presence here in Singapore as a startup landing pad will give us that edge and I’m looking forward to seeing the fruits of this effort here,” she added. There are four Australian startups currently in the incubator, and the Australian Government plans to host 10 in the next phase, Bishop said. Asked whether government would invest in these startups, she said: “I think there are others who are better at managing risk and determining which startups are likely to be a success, but the Australian Government wants to provide the framework, the environment, our bright young people and our startups to have the right opportunity to gain a foothold in what is such a dynamic and vibrant market.” Singapore has supported the scheme to attract more entrepreneurs to the city state. “International connections are critical to facilitating innovation and supporting Singapore’s startup ecosystem,” said S. Iswaran, Minister for Trade and Industry, this morning. “Innovation is and will be a key driver of Singapore’s economic growth.” This partnership is the first of many initiatives that Singapore is using to attract foreign businesses and governments to invest. SGInnovate is exploring other similar partnerships, GovInsider was informed. Meanwhile, the Committee for Future Economy has called for a Global Innovation Alliance to create more opportunities for startups. This Alliance will use universities to create research and entrepreneurship hubs, with reciprocal arrangements overseas.