Govt offering millions to spur ideas from public

Govt offering millions to spur ideas from public

The Government wants your ideas, and is willing to put its money where its mouth is by offering millions of dollars for proposals in areas from tourism to heritage and the arts.

Observers welcomed the trend, with one saying this shows a shift from a paternalistic model of governance to one where it encourages initiative among the people.

Indeed, various government bodies have started funds to back the move.

In January, the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth called for Singaporeans to pitch ideas on how to best celebrate Singapore's 50th birthday. Under the SG50 initiative, funding support goes up to $50,000.

There is also the Singapore Tourism Board's (STB) $5 million Kickstart Fund, launched last June to develop new lifestyle events and concepts with tourism potential.

Ideas that have received funding so far include a visual arts festival and design book fair. Recipients receive up to $75,000. The list goes on.

The National Heritage Board (NHB), National Library Board (NLB), National Environment Agency, National Arts Council and National Youth Council also have an arsenal of grants rewarding Singaporeans for ideas.

They include projects to preserve local heritage, boost the arts scene and promote environmental ownership in the community, among other things.

National University of Singapore sociologist Paulin Tay Straughan said the trend shows the Government's desire to encourage proactive behaviour.

In the midst of this shift in norms, incentivising the community is helpful, she said. "Rather than watch from the sidelines, these initiatives invite those with dreams, visions and ideas to step forward in partnership with the establishment."

Some such as Mr Amit Anand of local venture capital firm Jungle Ventures said it is wise to tap Singapore's potential for entrepreneurship and innovation, as it is already "the most vibrant ecosystem in the region".

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