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Enterprise Singapore Launches Southeast Asia Open Innovation Challenge

Enterprise Singapore launched the inaugural Southeast Asia Open Innovation Challenge (SEA OIC), and expanded the Global Innovation Alliance (GIA) network to include Manila. These are just two of the announcements made by Mr Alvin Tan, Minister of State for Trade and Industry today at the Singapore Week of Innovation and TeCHnology 2020 – SWITCH 2020.

“As economies recover from the pandemic, it will be important for companies to adopt innovative solutions that enable them to operate more efficiently, or to strengthen offerings that cater to increased demand in emerging sectors like fintech and healthcare.”

“Through the SEA OIC, regional companies can develop innovations to help them adapt their business models and remain resilient. In turn, promising startups and SMEs gain the opportunity to partner these established corporates to testbed their ideas, and accelerate market access into the region,” said Mr Tan Soon Kim, Assistant Chief Executive Officer of Enterprise Singapore.

“With the addition of Manila to our GIA network on top of the existing ones in Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City and Jakarta, we hope to further drive linkages between our innovation and tech communities, and facilitate collaboration.”

The SEA OIC spans five regional corporate-level partnerships in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Through the open innovation challenge, startups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will get the opportunity to work on wide-ranging challenge statements in Media, Retail, Consumer Tech, Fintech, Proptech and Agritech.

Shortlisted solution providers will get the opportunity to work directly with the regional corporates to develop and refine their solutions in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

There are up to six eligible winners, one from each sector. They could win up to S$20,000 Startup SG grants each.

Strengthening ties between Singapore and the Philippines

Manila is the fourth GIA partner in Southeast Asia. Under GIA Manila, Enterprise Singapore will partner Plug and Play (PNP) to boost collaborations between Singapore tech startups and SMEs with their counterparts in the Philippines through Manila.

PNP will work with Launchgarage, one of the leading tech accelerators in the Philippines, to help participants engage key industry stakeholders in the Philippines.

PNP is a stage-agnostic open innovation platform that runs accelerator programmes and corporate innovation activities in more than 16 countries and 30 global cities. Since its founding in 2006, PNP has accelerated more than 2,000 companies and developed a network of more than 400 corporate partners globally.

PNP will run two types of Acceleration Programmes:

  • A market access programme that provides an overview of the innovation ecosystem in the Philippines, enabling Singapore businesses to sharpen their internationalisation strategy for the Philippines market. Participants will be able to meet with potential collaborators and customers through mentorship and business matching sessions.
  • A sector-based demand-led innovation programme that will target specific challenges faced by local corporates. PNP and Launchgarage will curate problem statements from potential demand drivers in-market, and connect them to suitable Singapore solution providers.

Targeted to commence in Q1 2021, these programmes will involve up to 50 Singapore tech startups and SMEs over a year. The programmes will take place virtually amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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