Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. Good afternoon, I am delighted to join you today at the opening of HASH Innovation Asia Summit 2021. It is apt that the theme for this event is “Innovate, Uplift and Transform the future of businesses”. This summit is an opportune platform for us to connect and share business strategies and insights as we move towards the post Covid-19 pandemic new normal.
2. I would like to thank Hashtaqs for organising this summit. Amidst today’s challenging backdrop, it is even more critical to continue creating opportunities for our businesses and help them adapt and grow.
Singapore as a global-Asia node of innovation, technology and enterprise
3. Innovation is key in determining how well our enterprises can thrive in the new normal. Businesses, both big and small, that are able to leverage innovation to build new competitive advantages will be in a better position to succeed.
4. The Government is committed to investing in innovation and R&D.
5. We are redoubling our efforts to strengthen our innovation ecosystem. We have a vibrant startup ecosystem that’s met with some success. Singapore now has 15 startup unicorns, including Sea, Grab, Razer, Nanofilm, and most recently, Ninja Van.
6. Last year, we made several enhancements to Startup SG initiatives offered by Enterprise Singapore (ESG), which provides budding entrepreneurs with mentorship, funding, and other support.
7. Over the next five years, we will commit $25 billion under the Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) 2025 Plan to support innovation and R&D. This is a significant increase from the $19 billion under the RIE2020 plan. It emphasises our commitment to supporting businesses in their development of new capabilities and technologies.
8. We are committed to investing in research to grow the scientific base for businesses to tap on. Sustainability, food production and public health, as well as the digital economy are exciting growth areas that we hope will bear fruit.
9. These efforts will help strengthen Singapore’s position as a global-Asia node for innovation, technology and enterprise. In the last few decades, the Asian region has grown significantly. Singapore is well-positioned to be a global-Asia node, linking the world to Asia and Asia to the world.
10. I’d like now to share some thoughts on how businesses can capture opportunities to embark on the path of transformation and growth.
Businesses can retain their competitive edge by transforming through technology and digitalisation
11. The global tech landscape has accelerated and become more dynamic and increasingly competitive. Businesses that are thriving in this new normal have ramped up their transformation by using digital solutions to access new markets - all without having to establish a physical presence. Not only can technology and digitalisation transform businesses, they also catalyse sector transformation and uplift high-growth industries such as agri-food technology.
12. The Singapore government is helping businesses in their digital transformation through various initiatives. Schemes such as Grow Digital, part of ESG and IMDA’s SMEs Go Digital programme, help businesses reach the global audience through e-commerce platforms. I urge more businesses to tap on such initiatives to transform themselves.
Businesses can unlock new opportunities by diversifying and accessing new markets through internationalisation
13. It is also critical that we remain open and connected. In particular there still exist many opportunities in Asian markets such as Southeast Asia, India and China. Not only are these markets located near Singapore, they are also projected to experience strong growth in consumer- and infrastructure-related industries as their Asian middle class continues to boom. These markets form fertile seedbeds for our businesses to expand and grow beyond Singapore.
14. We actively support cross-border collaborations through a number of programmes.
a. For instance, our Global Innovation Alliance nodes help Singapore businesses connect and collaborate with overseas businesses and the innovation communities abroad. The programme also opens up wider access to talent, capital, customers and partners in major innovation hubs across the world.
15. I strongly encourage our companies here and abroad to actively explore the various programmes and platforms available to access new markets and grow your business networks and opportunities.
16. Technology and innovation will continue to be the key drivers of future economic growth.
a. I hope that over the next two days, you will seize the opportunity to network and exchange ideas with fellow business owners, industry leaders and experts. May you continue to innovate and transform your business, and grow beyond Singapore to achieve new heights in the new normal.
b. I wish you a very fruitful summit ahead.
17. Thank you.