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Singapore focuses on budget for transformation and innovation

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Singapore has secured S $ 24 billion ($ 18.1 billion) over the next three years to help local businesses innovate and build the capabilities they need to move through the next phase of change. The financial boost will be directed to various initiatives such as new technology programs where the government will co-sponsor the cost of testing and adopting new technologies such as 5G, artificial intelligence (AI) and cybersecurity.

This was necessary to ensure that the country remained competitive and ready to take advantage of future opportunities, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hen Swee Quiet said in a parliamentary speech on Tuesday. , Details Singapore’s budget for 2021. He had “emergency assistance” in the light of a pandemic last year, but this year’s investment needed to focus on accelerating “structural adaptation.”

He is important for all stakeholders to act swiftly and respond to the changing competitive environment driven by technological advances and the speed of global supply chain restructuring. I pointed out as a driving force.

“We must move from a fiscal and financial stability policy that goes against the business cycle to a structural economic policy that empowers businesses and workers with deep future preparedness,” Heng said.

In this regard, the government has turned its attention to fostering a “innovative spirit” business community, which is “deeply connected” to Asia and the world. He also said that a variety of capital will be provided to help companies transform and scale.

This includes Corporate Venture Launchpad, which provides companies with co-funds to build new ventures through pre-qualified venture studios. The new platform, scheduled for pilots this year, is relevant to large corporations that want to foster startup thinking within their organization, the minister said.

For example, BCG Digital Ventures has partnered with local food and farming company Olam to launch Jiva, a farm services platform designed to help farmers increase yields and connect directly with potential buyers. It is a venture studio developed.

Plans are also underway to enhance the open innovation platform with new features to link companies and government agencies with relevant technology providers to solve business challenges. For example, a cloud-based digital bench could help facilitate virtual prototyping and testing, Hen said.

He added that the open innovation platform also provides co-funding support for prototyping and deployment. For example, the Building and Construction Authority has worked with three technology providers, TraceSafe, TagBox, and Nervotec, to develop tools that enable safe resumption of the workplace. It includes a real-time system that enables construction site owners to perform COVID-19 contact tracing and employee health monitoring.

The Global Innovation Alliance, introduced in 2017 to promote cross-border partnerships between Singapore and the Global Innovation Hub, will also be strengthened. Since its launch, more than 650 students and 780 Singapore companies have participated in overseas innovation lunchpads, 40% of which were in Southeast Asia, according to Heng.

He noted that strong connectivity is essential to enable Singapore companies to plug into global and regional supply chains and industry clusters, and investments will continue to invest in partnerships and infrastructure across the ASEAN region. He said it would be directed towards construction.

According to Mr. Heng, ASEAN countries as a whole are the world’s fifth largest economies, generating $ 3.2 trillion in GDP in 2019 and becoming China’s largest trading partner last year. He said Singapore will continue to work with ASEAN member states to strengthen digital connectivity and cybersecurity and further promote initiatives such as the ASEAN Smart City Network, given the potential for significant growth in the region.

These included efforts to build an industrial cluster centered on Medtech, food manufacturing, and electronics, which are in high demand throughout ASEAN. He said the Southeast Asian Manufacturing Alliance was recently formed to support such efforts with the aim of promoting a network of industrial parks to manufacturers considering investing in Singapore and the region.

The government will also co-fund the adoption of digital tools and new technologies to further encourage Singapore companies, including small and medium-sized enterprises, to invest in new technologies to increase their competitiveness.

Heng elaborated on emerging technology programs and said the initiative would ease the cost of trying and deploying technologies such as 5G, AI and “trust” technologies, and support the commercialization of innovation.

He said the new digital leader program will also support companies in the process of recruiting core digital teams and in the development and deployment of digital transformation strategies.

The minister added that the government would partner with a joint-stock company to provide growth capital for local businesses to transform and expand. Here, S $ 500 million will be co-invested with state-owned investment firm Temasek Holdings on a commercially managed local enterprise financing platform. In addition, Temasek will be comparable to government investment and will have a total of S $ 1 billion available, he said.

The Government of Singapore emphasizes the need to develop innovation leaders and businesses, especially in the field of deep technology, and also establishes new innovation and enterprise fellowship programs. The program will support 500 fellowships over the next five years, Heng said.

Led by the National Research Foundation (NRF), this initiative aims to address requirements in areas such as cybersecurity, AI and medical technology, and NRF is a diverse partner for accelerators, venture capital and deep tech startups. Work with to build a program. up.

Grow green

As climate change is “realistic and urgent,” funding is available to drive Singapore’s green initiatives. The country launched the Green Plan 2030 last week. This is a decade-long plan to drive efforts to build “green, livable and sustainable” homes for future generations.

According to Hen, technology will play an important role here, helping Singapore address water and land constraints and opening up new possibilities.

Among its goals are plans to deploy 60,000 electric vehicle charging points on public parking and private land by 2030, and an investment of $ 30 million over the next five years for electric vehicle-related initiatives. there is.

The government has also identified public sector green projects worth up to S $ 19 billion, including the Tuas Nexus Initiative, which is funded by green bonds. According to Heng, the project will integrate waste and water treatment facilities to optimize the energy and resource recovery of solid waste and spent water treatment processes.

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