Fresh look at policies for start-ups

Fresh look at policies for start-ups

SINGAPORE - Help is on the way for entrepreneurs trying to turn their fledgling operations into world-class companies.

There will be a review into how policies can be devised that can assist and nurture go-getters and make Singapore more conducive for new start-ups.

The move is spearheaded by government agency Action Community for Entrepreneurship (Ace) and Spring Singapore. There is a high-powered committee to undertake the exercise.

Ace chairman Teo Ser Luck told The Straits Times on Thursday that new approaches are needed to keep up with the latest in innovation development and the new ways of doing business here and the world.

Mr Teo, who is also Minister of State for Trade and Industry, added: "Government is only one part of this process. "The community of investors, entrepreneurs, policymakers and others related to helping entrepreneurs succeed must also help in this renewal."

The 19-member review committee, which Mr Teo announced at Ace's 10th anniversary celebration in May, reflects this broad scope and features investors, entrepreneurs and representatives from universities.

The line-up includes Dr Finian Tan of venture capital firm Vickers Financial Group, Mr Tan Min-Liang, co-founder of game peripheral company Razer, and Dr Lily Chan, chief executive at NUS Enterprise.

Topics that arose at its first meeting last week included how to attract talent, improve market access for start-ups and Government policies to support entrepreneurship. These issues will also be discussed with investors and entrepreneurs at upcoming dialogues.

Committee member Chen Yew Nah, managing director of DP Information Network, said entrepreneurs who found new start-ups "are crucial for our economy's dynamism because they challenge existing firms".

The entry of new firms increases competitive pressures, forcing existing firms to improve their performance or exit, Ms Chen added in an e-mail interview. Mr Inderjit Singh, entrepreneur and MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC, said cost and talent are two pressing issues.

"We're now just too expensive ... (start-ups) may not be able to survive the high cost environment in Singapore," said Mr Singh, who is not on the committee.

"Access to people who can join start-ups early is also needed. We cannot depend on locals as few may be willing to join start-ups. In the meantime, they need to be able to access affordable employees from around the region. If we don't solve these two issues, many start-ups will fold up too early."

The committee will release its report by year-end, in time to be considered for Budget 2014.

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