Steve Leonard, executive deputy chairman of Singapore’s Infocomm Development Authority, will lead the government’s new unit to support startups, it was announced today.
SG-Innovate is a new agency to connect entrepreneurs with industry mentors, venture capitalists and research talent. It was created as part of Budget 2016, along with a US$3.2bn plan for innovation and robotics.
It will work with “public and private sector leaders in the Singapore ecosystem to help build companies in key sectors such as finance, energy and health,” Leonard said.
The unit will be under the National Research Foundation, and will help startups build products out of research findings. “We want to help translate innovative tech from the research phase into start-up and onwards into commercial success,” he said. Leonard spent much of his career in senior positions at multinational technology companies, before moving into Government to support Singapore’s Info-tech initiatives.
The unit’s first tie up has been announced with the central bank, Monetary Authority of Singapore, to advise startups on FinTech – financial technology – funding.
The FinTech Office will also review existing schemes across governments, and propose new ones to fill the gaps. It will also market Singapore as a “FinTech hub”. Leonard has already been championing this agenda by promoting Singapore’s FinTech support to startups in London and San Francisco.
The office will be co-led by Leonard and the bank’s Chief FinTech Officer, Sopnendu Mohanty.
GovInsider is running Innovation Labs World in September – a global event showcasing the best innovation labs and techniques.