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IMDA: Singapore Continues to Lead with Innovation

With tech giants landing on local shores, Singapore continues to grow in stature as a global tech and innovation hub. Built on high-quality infrastructure and a vibrant ecosystem of over 3,400 start-ups and 600 investors, the city-state was ranked the fifth most innovative city in the World Economic Forum’s 2019 Innovative Cities Index.

Fast forward to 2021, Singapore has now emerged as the second most innovative economy on an international Innovation Index, for showing resilience amid the COVID-19 situation. The country’s efforts to spur innovation form part of a larger vision to build a resilient, sustainable and digital nation. In December 2020 Singapore’s five-year Research, Innovation and Enterprise plan was released, committing S$25 billion in funding research and development efforts to maximise the unique opportunities unveiled by the pandemic.

To further boost Singapore’s innovation ecosystem, The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) is supporting the growth of local companies, providing avenues for collaboration, commercialisation and internationalisation. Accordingly, the agency had launched various programmes to help businesses embrace innovation, including the Open Innovation Platform (OIP), Accreditation@SGD, as well as the annual Techblazer Awards.

IMDA’s OIP is a virtual crowdsourcing platform that bridges hundreds of enterprises according to their needs. No longer do companies have to rely only on internal teams to address their biggest pain points. Instead, companies present their challenges through OIP, opening themselves to a wider spectrum of possible problem-solvers for their challenges. In turn, up-and-coming tech providers rise to the occasion—engaging enterprises they might never have reached otherwise and embellished their portfolio with successful innovation projects.

Meanwhile, IMDA’s Accreditation@SG Digital (Accreditation@SGD) programme spotlights promising Singapore-based tech companies to help them establish credentials and build business traction. By positioning these companies as qualified tech providers with the capability to deliver, Accreditation@SGD enables their solutions to reach potential Government and large enterprises.

To recognise and reward such innovation efforts, IMDA organises the Techblazer Awards each year—the nation’s highest accolade for tech innovation. Notably, SafeEntry by GovTech won the award for Best Adoption by the Public Sector for its role in facilitating digital check-ins during this pandemic period.

While innovation may initially seem daunting, it is precisely during times of great uncertainty where it shines most. As the companies have shown, innovation not only helps enterprises stay afloat, but the solutions generated through such efforts also strengthen Singapore’s resilience in the ongoing fight against COVID-19.

Serving as an example to countries worldwide, Singapore’s tradition of innovation fuelled by efforts like the OIP, Accreditation@SGD and Techblazer Awards has helped the country to not just weather the storm but rise above it—exemplifying the crucial role of innovation in resilience.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, Singapore will also continue to enhance its infrastructure investments in the region. The various projects by the government such as emerging technology platforms and solutions aim to continuously improve the digital connectivity and cybersecurity of the nation. Beyond these new schemes, the government will also extend to end-March 2022 the enhanced support levels of up to 80 per cent for existing enterprise schemes. These existing initiatives include the Scale-up SG programme, Productivity Solutions Grant, Market Readiness Assistance, and Enterprise Development Grant.

On the increased funding to redesign jobs, Finance Minister Heng said that Singapore must leverage technology to develop senior-friendly workplaces. “In the coming years, a critical part of business transformation will be in job redesign,” he added. With technological advances, many physically demanding or repetitive tasks can be better done by machines.

These moves are part of a suite of capital tools announced under this year’s Budget. The government is looking to catalyse a wide range of capital to co-fund and enable businesses to innovate, transform and scale.

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