Speech by MOS Alvin Tan at the National Youth Entrepreneurship Awards 2023

Speech by MOS Alvin Tan at the National Youth Entrepreneurship Awards 2023

Mr James Tan, Chairman, Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE.SG)

Mr Patrick Lim, Chief Executive Officer, ACE.SG

Ladies and gentlemen




1. Great to be back at the National Youth Entrepreneurship Awards (NYEA). Always good to meet with and be inspired by our youths’ passion and ingenuity.


Growth of Singapore’s startup ecosystem


2. ACE.SG established these awards to celebrate the achievements of our youths and support Singapore’s startup scene.


3. Today, Singapore hosts over 4,500 tech startups, over 440 Venture Capitals (VCs), 240 incubators and accelerators, and a strong base of research and innovation hubs.


4. Even in an uncertain macroeconomic environment, we attracted about two-thirds of Southeast Asia’s deal flow by volume in the first 3 quarters of this year. This is valued at over US$4 billion.


5. Singapore was also ranked 2nd in Asia in Startup Genome’s Global Startup Ecosystem Report, and topped Startup Blink’s ranking for Asia.


Entrepreneurs as drivers for change


6. A few weeks ago, at the launch of the Forward Singapore Festival, DPM Lawrence Wong highlighted how Singapore is at a critical inflection point. We are facing tougher domestic challenges, like inequality and a rapidly ageing population. We are also not spared the impact of cross-border crises, global warming and rising economic fragmentation.


7. Entrepreneurs like yourselves are critical to building solutions to such problems, to being a driving force for change. In line with this year’s awards theme, “Innovation for a Better World”, your solutions are addressing a range of global issues – like waste from single-use plastics, food security, improving access to education, and empowering vulnerable communities.


8. This is the right direction, and we will support you – our architects of change. As you begin on your journeys, might I suggest three simple ways to foster a lifelong spirit of entrepreneurship, and be effective drivers of change. To find Out, Speak Out, and Step Out.


Find Out, Speak Out, Step Out


9. First, Find Out.


10. As young entrepreneurs with limited resources, knowledge is your potent weapon. Embrace your curiosity and find out what is happening in different industries, what shifts or strategies corporates and governments are making, and how you might contribute to that.


11. Deepen your knowledge through internships or attachments.


a. Find out more aboutworking infast-moving fields like Artificial Intelligence, Biotechnology, Internet of Things, and Quantum Computing, through SGInnovate Summation, a 3 to 6-month Deep Tech apprenticeship programme to train post-graduate and undergraduate students.


b. Gain valuable exposure interning with startups and innovative companies, including those based overseas,through our Global Innovation Alliance (GIA) initiative.


12. Second, keep speaking out.


13. Actively advocate for your business ideas and build your networks. This can take many forms. For example,


a. Join dialogues and forums. We will introduce youth-led panels for youths to shape relevant policies together with the Government. Your views and ideas on entrepreneurship in Singapore, as well as the key problem statements of our time, are valuable input to policy-makers and leaders, and can have a multiplier impact on areas you care about.


b. Expand your networks and engage different perspectives to refine your business ideas. Use ACEpiration and Founders Sharing sessions organised by ACE.SG to meet with other students, entrepreneurs and startup founders from around the world. Speak out, support and learn from one another.


14. Finally, keep stepping out.


15. More than great ideas, we need firm action and commitment. As you step out into uncharted territories, there are many resources, programmes and support schemes in our vibrant startup ecosystem, to give you the best possible chance of success. For example,


a. Enterprise Singapore has a range of initiatives under its StartupSG umbrella, to support startups in areas like mentorship, financing and networking.


b. Pollinate is a joint initiative between Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic, Temasek Polytechnic and the Institute of Technical Education (ITE). Students and alumni can receive extensive support to scale their business ventures locally and internationally, and connect with potential investors and partners. Pollinate is also an accredited mentor partner under Enterprise Singapore's StartupSG Founder scheme.


c. Earlier this year, SGInnovate launched Deep Tech Talent Central to promote access to training programmes, networking events, and on-the-job training opportunities within deep tech.


d. Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise, or “raiSE”, supports its early and seed-stage members through a VentureForGood (VFG) Grant worth up to S$300,000 to create more human-centred social impact.


16. These are just some of the many resources you can tap to build up your venture, and we will support you along this journey.




17. Thank you all for your time, dedication, and hard work. Congrats for having the courage to find out, speak out, and step out as entrepreneurs and drivers of change.


18. We celebrate this, and we look forward to witnessing the transformative impact that you will no doubt bring to Singapore.


19. Thank you.

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