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Australia to boost ASEAN smart city start-ups

The Australian Government will be partnering with a regional network of start-ups in order to develop a Singapore-based ASEAN Smart Cities Accelerator (ASCA).

What is ASCA?

ASCA, which is supported by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), is a first of its kind, seven-month start-up accelerator programme.

It is designed to provide the best possible support for early-stage Southeast Asian start-ups specialising in future city development.

As a seed-stage accelerator program, it will select, fund and provide a development programme for smart city start-ups in Southeast Asia through access to regional opportunities, knowledge, networks and resources.

There are two parts to the programme. The first one involves a three-month period with weekly activities in Singapore.

The next part is made up of four months of remote support, a Demo Day and a one-week immersion trip.

Women entrepreneurs are vital to the success of the initiative and are encouraged to apply.

Why is there a need for ASCA?

The Co-Founder of the regional network of start-ups shared that smart solutions are proliferating in the region.

This includes ride-hailing super apps, AI-powered transit planning, data-driven disaster assessment and advanced green-building techniques.

Start-ups are uniquely positioned to tackle the challenges that cities face today and in the future.

By working closely with cities and government agencies, the objective is to foster a collaborative and progressive ecosystem.

Having that will expedite the development and deployment of sustainable smart cities in Southeast Asia, while creating better connected, more resilient cities that work for everyone.

Who are qualified?

Pre-seed or seed-stage start-ups from all ASEAN member countries with a product or solution and a viable user base are being sought.

The focus of these start-ups should be geared towards addressing problems related to sustainable development and improvement of city living.

The programme is looking for next-generation solutions that can be scaled across growing urban populations.

They should be able to improve livelihoods through new business, career and economic opportunities.

Furthermore, they should improve access to safe and affordable housing, public spaces, infrastructure and transportation.

Other key qualifiers include a measure on environmental impacts, resource management and general public accessibility.

What will they get?

The following benefits will be provided for selected start-up founders:

  1. A structured schedule of impactful sessions including workshops, mentorship meetings, and investor events
  2. S$ 40,000 equity-free investment
  3. Access to top quality mentors, investors, and founders including an Entrepreneur in Residence, who will work closely with them throughout the programme
  4. Office space in the city centre of Singapore during the programme
  5. Benefits from partner companies

The ASCA is a big step in the right direction toward making the vision of smart cities into reality.

Applications are open until 4 August 2019. The programme start date is set for 30 September 2019 while the inaugural Demo Day will take place on 6 February 2020.

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