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Speech by 2M Tan See Leng at TechInnovation 2021

Speech by 2M Tan See Leng at TechInnovation 2021

Her Excellency, Ms Kara Owen, British High Commissioner to Singapore,


His Excellency, Mr Priit Turk, Ambassador of Estonia to Singapore,


Distinguished Guests,


Ladies and Gentlemen,



1. A very good morning to all of you.


  a. It is my pleasure to join you at the 10th edition of TechInnovation presented by IPI.


  b. This year is a notable year, as it marks the 10th anniversary of IPI.


  c. I would like to congratulate IPI and everyone involved in TechInnovation, on this very important milestone.


2. As IPI’s flagship technology-to-industry matching event, TechInnovation has grown over the last decade to become a mainstay in the Singapore innovation calendar.


  a. This year, we welcome over 160 exhibitors, 11 national innovation agencies and 2,000 participants. Your presence reaffirms the importance of this event in bringing together enterprises and technology providers to collaborate and develop solutions.


  b. I am also pleased to note that the Indonesian National Research & Innovation Agency (BRIN) will be debuting this year to feature various innovations from their research centres and start-ups.


Innovation as a key pillar of our economy and enabler of value creation


3. This year’s theme is ‘A Sustainable and Resilient Future’.


  a. The theme is very relevant, as we continue to champion innovation efforts in key areas such as sustainability, food production and public health, amid the evolving environment.


4. As we learn to adapt and live with COVID, we must remain committed to innovation.


  a. Enterprises that are able to ride this wave of change to build new competitive advantages, will stand a better chance at succeeding.


5. I encourage businesses to explore open innovation and proactively seek out collaboration opportunities.


  a. TechInnovation is one such platform for businesses to network and co-develop technological solutions. SMEs and start-ups can leverage this platform to learn best practices, cross-pollinate ideas and explore new collaborations.


  b. Following the 7th edition of TechInnovation in 2018, IPI facilitated the partnership between ARB Technologies and Mitsui & Co., to co-develop a process to convert shrimp waste to high-value biopolymer materials known as chitin and chitosan.


  c. These could in turn be repurposed into animal feed or biomedical applications, potentially creating new revenue streams for the company.


Strong innovation ecosystem with resources to help SMEs tap on innovation, technology, and IP


6. Our SMEs can be assured that you are not alone on this innovation journey. The Singapore Government has dedicated resources to build up a strong innovation ecosystem with a comprehensive suite of levers to support you.


7. I urge our enterprises to partner with others in innovation challenges to address industry-wide issues.


  a. There is no better way for the community to pool our resources together to crack a problem, because chances are the problem your company is facing may well be faced by other companies too.


8. Let me use our container depots as an example.


  a. A team of container surveyors working in our depots would visually inspect approximately 200 containers daily.


  b. While inspecting a perfect container may take at most 10 minutes of their time, inspections can go up to 40 minutes long if the container has serious defects.


  c. With around one-third of containers expected to have defects, these manual inspections can be a lengthy and laborious process.


  d. And not to forget that these inspections could also pose safety risks to our workers.


9. To tackle these pain points, IPI and ESG launched the National Innovation Challenge in partnership with the Container Depot and Logistics Association Singapore (CDAS) last year.


  a. The innovation call invited proposals to shorten the inspection process and reduce the risks posed to surveyors.


  b. I am heartened to know that CDAS and depot owners are now in talks with four solution providers to explore the potential adoption of solutions that can improve the productivity of manual container inspection.


10. Earlier this month, IPI also partnered with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and Enterprise Singapore to launch “Xcite”, which stands for ‘Accelerating Co-Innovation for Transformation & Export’, to enhance productivity and efficiency in transport operations and maintenance.


  a. If you are an SME or start-up with a potential solution to offer, I strongly urge you to participate in innovation challenges like Xcite, where your solutions have the opportunity to be adopted by Government.


IPI will serve as a catalyst for enterprises seeking growth opportunities


11.  Besides creating collaboration opportunities for enterprises, IPI also matches companies to suitable local and overseas experts to help them meet their business goals.


  a. To date, IPI has engaged over 2,000 enterprises and technology partners on more than 280 projects. IPI has built up a diverse network of technology partners across domains to connect enterprises to potential partners and advisors, both locally and internationally.


12. The Innovation Advisors Programme by IPI and Enterprise Singapore, is one such example. The Programme is tailored for enterprises looking to glean technology and business insights from experienced practitioners. These industry practitioners or Innovation Advisors have experience in various domains such as food, medtech and manufacturing.


  a. For example, Dr Ong Mei Horng, an Innovation Advisor with many years of experience in the food industry, worked closely with local start-up SinFooTech to make their Sachi beverage product line market-ready.


  b. Sachi production, which uses soy whey, a by-product from tofu manufacturing, is unlike conventional brewery processes.


  c. With Dr Ong’s advice, SinFooTech was able to develop a specialised technology to scale up their filtration technique for commercial production.


  d. SinFooTech is one of over 40 companies that the IAP has partnered since its inception in 2019. More than 20 industry veterans have since been appointed on the Programme to mentor and match enterprises to relevant technology and business partners.




13. To conclude, it is increasingly important for our enterprises to collaborate, innovate and seize opportunities in the current environment.


  a. I hope you all will leverage the opportunities over the next two days to network and exchange ideas.


  b. I wish you a fruitful conference ahead, and congratulations once again to IPI for your 10th year.


14. Thank you.


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