1. Ladies and Gentlemen, good morning. It is my pleasure to witness the launch of Rainmaking Expand Korea with Deputy Minister Byun in Seoul today.
2. Singapore and the Republic of Korea are both open and forward-looking economies, and the launch of Rainmaking Expand Korea is testament to our commitment to fostering business and innovation friendly environments.
3. Singapore start-ups and SMEs have the opportunities to tap on Korean government programmes and private sector partnerships to establish and expand their presence in Korea. Some of Singapore’s technology SMEs have already successfully entered the Korean market, including Neuron Mobility, a rental e-scooter company, as well as Senserbot, now a leader in Radio Frequency Identification robotic solutions for libraries.
4. Our start-ups have also shown a keen interest in the K-Startup Grand Challenge, a three-and-a-half-month acceleration programme for foreign start-ups funded by the Korean Government. Through this challenge, Singapore start-up, Vouch, secured contracts with several hotels in Korea for their hospitality e-concierge solutions, while NDR Medical Technology signed a distributorship agreement with their Korean partner, CG Bio.
5. Rainmaking Expand Korea will provide further impetus for such partnerships. This market access programme will enable Singapore technology SMEs and start-ups to plug themselves into the innovation system in Korea, and access a wide pool of business and partnership opportunities.
6. Singapore start-ups and SMEs that forge partnerships through Rainmaking Expand Korea can receive funding for further development via joint innovation calls by the current partnership between Enterprise Singapore and the Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology under the EUREKA Network.
7. Rainmaking Expand Korea complements the existing K-Startup Centre, or KSC, in Singapore, launched by Korea’s Ministry of SMEs and Startups in July last year and supported by Enterprise Singapore. Both initiatives bridge our ecosystems by facilitating the exchange of innovation activities between Singapore and Korea. Our SMEs and start-ups will be better able to explore co-innovation opportunities with like-minded companies in Korea, adding to the vibrancy of the innovation ecosystems in both countries.
8. I am pleased to share that since the launch of the KSC, 13 Korean start-ups have tapped on its landing pad services and set up their presence in Singapore. These include Sentbe, a cross-border fintech start-up, and AIZEN, an AI fintech startup. The KSC will also be participating in the Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology as an international partner to promote Singapore’s and Korea’s start-up ecosystems.
9. Singapore is well-positioned as a hub and gateway to Southeast Asia, and will continue to strengthen our efforts to be the global-Asia node for innovation. We welcome the interest of Korean venture capitalists and conglomerates to invest in Singapore, and use Singapore as a launchpad to Southeast Asia and beyond. We have seen an uptick in interest from Korean companies in the region in recent years.
10. For instance, Hyundai Motor Group announced the establishment of the Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Center in Singapore in October 2020, and CJ CheilJedang
invested in Singapore alternative protein start-up, Shiok! Meats in July this year. Top Korean venture capitalists, such as TheVentures and Korea Investment Partners, have also set up presence in Singapore recently, with the latter investing into Singapore-based start-ups like Whitecoat and Ohmyhome. We look forward to more of such endeavours.
11. Partnerships traditionally play an integral role in the success of technology start-ups and SMEs. Enterprise Singapore and Rainmaking Expand Korea will facilitate such partnerships across borders and invigorate the ecosystems in both Singapore and Korea.
12. Let me conclude by encouraging those interested in this programme to contact Enterprise Singapore and Rainmaking. It is my hope that our start-ups and SMEs will find the programme helpful in establishing themselves in the vibrant and exciting global innovation hub that is Korea.
13. Thank you very much.