Opening Remarks at Launch of Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE) Beijing Chapter by Minister of State for Trade & Industry Teo Ser Luck, 15 June 2012, 7.00pm at Grand Millennium Beijing, China
Let me start by thanking some of the key people who are here with us today – Ambassador Stanley Loh, and members of the Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE) Steering Committee, Dr Steven Fang, Mr Clinton Ang and Mr Prakash Somosundram who flew over from Singapore to lend their support to this event. I would also like to acknowledge the work done by the ACE Overseas Chapter Sub-committee, under the leadership of Mr James Tan.
ACE started in 2003, following a recommendation by the Economic Review Committee (ERC). The ERC was set up by Prime Minister, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, to identify key strategies that would help us navigate the new economic environment. Building an entrepreneurial economy was one of the key parts of this review. We understand the need to develop our own global champions, so that they can better contribute to our economy.
Since then, many government schemes have been implemented to support the growth of our start-ups and SMEs. Before I go into more details on the various government schemes, let me explain why we are setting up the ACE Beijing Chapter. When I took over the chairmanship of ACE last year, I observed that some of our start-ups are constrained by the small domestic market which may not be ready for the products and services they offer. Expansion into overseas markets is imperative for these companies.
The Singapore Government is committed to helping our companies tap on business opportunities overseas. Currently, SMEs that are keen to internationalise have the support of IE Singapore. Through ACE, we hope to be able to also support the internationalisation of start-ups. We want to encourage entrepreneurship amongst Singaporeans overseas, and to facilitate their venturing overseas.
To enable the ACE Beijing Chapter to support Singapore entrepreneurs in starting up overseas, the schemes that are available in Singapore will also be made available to those who want to venture into China. Today, the ACE Start-ups Scheme provides up to SGD 50,000 of matching grant to entrepreneurial Singaporeans who want to take their first step in starting up businesses. Start-ups that are interested in the overseas markets can also be supported under this scheme, subject to the scheme’s requirements being met. Conditions for support under the scheme include the requirement for the company to be registered in Singapore. Start-ups must also be able to demonstrate the value proposition of their products and services, and how they can differentiate themselves from the rest of the market.
Start-ups can also tap on the Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC), which has been implemented to help SMEs be more productive. Moving forward, start-ups with sustainable internationalisation business plans can also be considered for IE Singapore’s assistance covering business activities such as the setting up of overseas marketing offices.
ACE Beijing Chapter will complement the support through government schemes by promoting a vibrant community of entrepreneurs, investors, professionals and local partners, and helping Singapore start-ups tap on this network for business and market advice. Through this support, ACE Beijing Chapter hopes to enhance the sustainability and competitiveness of our start-ups overseas, and to help them generate their first dollar of revenue more quickly.
As one of the key business centres and the political centre of China, Beijing makes for a good base for ACE to begin supporting Singapore start-ups on the ground. I hope that the ACE Beijing Chapter will be successful, and that this model can eventually be replicated in other cities and countries to help more Singapore start-ups overseas.
I hope to see continued support for ACE Beijing Chapter’s efforts from its members, as well as from other organisations such as the Singapore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SingCham) in China.
Let me congratulate the team once again on your efforts. I wish you all the best going forward.