Minister of Education, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan,
Ladies and Gentlemen
1. Good morning to all of you. I am happy to join you at the launch of the Singapore-India Hackathon 2023.
2. This hackathon is a part of Singapore’s and India’s cooperation in skills development, especially for our youths.
3. I can see how eager everyone is to get started with the hackathon, so I promise you that I’ll keep my speech short.
SKILLS – A KEY AREA OF COOPERATION
4. Skills development is a key area of cooperation between India and Singapore. India, though programmes such as Skill India, is capitalising on its demographic dividend. Like India, Singapore also invests heavily in adult learning and upskilling. And by working together, we enable our people to have more opportunities to learn from one another’s ways of thinking and doing, and this helps them to sharpen their skills, improve their competencies, and secure better jobs.
5. For example, the Singapore-India Partnership Office of my Ministry brought together the Confederation of Indian Industry’s Institute of Logistics and the Singapore Logistics Association to co-develop and deliver two international joint certification courses. These courses were delivered virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic for 75 logistics and supply chain professionals in India. They learnt about advanced concepts and technologies in supply chain and warehouse management, including virtual site visits. The outcome was so positive that the partners decided to offer more runs of the courses.
6. I look forward to working with my partner Dharmendra-ji to encourage our educational institutions and business associations to develop skilling programmes that will enable our people to keep pace with the demand for increasingly complex skills and future-proof their employability.
STARTUPS AND AN INNOVATIVE ECONOMY
7. Startups play a critical role in driving innovation in our economies.
8. India already has the third largest number of unicorns in the world. What’s amazing is that more than half reached that size in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps one or more of today’s participating startups will one day also join the ranks if not already one of them!
a. I just want to mention one such unicorn, and that is Glance. Founded in 2019, Glance is a lock screen platform which provides personalised content directly to users through their mobile lock screens. In doing so, the company has revolutionised the way content creators and advertisers engage their users. And today, more than 225 million consumers worldwide use Glance, and the company recently set up a new headquarters in Singapore to capture the growing user base in Southeast Asia.
9. There are also Singapore companies here today whose solutions are creating new waves in emerging industries. For example, VFlowTech is pioneering new solutions in the battery sector to unlock the full potential of renewable power generation. Through the use of their innovative Vanadium Redox Flow technology, VFlowTech has created efficient, portable, modular, and scalable energy storage solutions.
10. I understand that Singapore and Indian startups will be going head-to-head in this year’s Hackathon as they pit their solutions against each other. But it is not about beating your competitor that matters, but coming up with the best solutions to make our world better for everyone.
11. There are no losers in such healthy contests, and I hope all of us will learn from the experience and become even better.
STUDENTS ARE OUR AMBASSADORS
12. Finally, for our students. You are our future.
13. I am especially glad that each group will be formed from three students from India and three from Singapore. Do seize this opportunity to learn from one another new ways of seeing and doing that stem from our diverse cultures, traditions and social experiences.
14. But the biggest prize of all will be the friendships that start today. Friends encourage us to dream higher, bigger, and push us to reach higher goals. I hope that your friendships will endure beyond today’s hackathon. Together, you can change our world for the better for all of us.
15. To conclude, I thank His Excellency Dharmendra-ji and India’s Ministry of Education and Nanyang Technology University, for organising this Hackathon.
16. I look forward to the solutions that will be presented in August at the finals of the hackathon, as our response to India’s clarion call for us to be “One Earth, One Family, One Future”.
17. Thank you.