$15m scheme will pair local firms with tech giants as mentors

$15m scheme will pair local firms with tech giants as mentors

When Mr Lim Soon Jinn started his tech company, HeuLab, more than 10 years ago, it was a two-man outfit developing e-learning solutions for a few schools.

Then he teamed up with tech giant Microsoft and found that doors opened for him, and he expanded into developing corporate apps for companies.

"As an SME, it really gives you credibility when you work with a large company," said Mr Lim, 38.

More local tech outfits will get help from industry icons, under a $15 million mentorship scheme announced by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) last Wednesday.

Under the Partnership for Capability Transformation for the Infocomm Sector (iPACT) programme, Microsoft Singapore, enterprise mobility tech provider Motorola Solutions, gaming company Razer and telco StarHub will train local start-up talent and develop products alongside the smaller firms.

More big firms are expected to sign up and the money, which is to be given out over three years, is expected to help over 90 SMEs, said IDA.

They could come up with apps that use surveillance camera data to monitor weather conditions in different areas and help citizens plan their routes, for example. They could also develop apps that use sensors and data analytics to predict waste patterns in public areas, so the mess can be cleaned up quickly.

"It may bring us one step closer to a smart nation where technology can be used to enhance transport and other public services," said IDA executive deputy chairman Steve Leonard.

Most of the money - drawn from a national productivity fund - will go towards talent training and developing prototypes.

To help train talent, IDA is also co-funding those taking up a data sciences and analytics course certified by John Hopkins University, which is run by online learning platform Coursera.

It will work with the Institution of Engineers Singapore to bring together engineers from various disciplines to build devices that solve real-world problems and organise a competition for students to develop smart home solutions.


This article was first published on June 25, 2014.
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