Singapore wins bid to host MIT global innovation and entrepreneurship programme here for the first time
SINGAPORE – (Press Release) 21 JULY 2015 – Singapore won the bid to host MIT’s Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Programme (REAP) here for the first time, clinching the valuable opportunity to showcase its burgeoning innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem to some 100 innovators who flew in from seven other participating regions – London, Morocco, Moscow, Puerto Rico, Seoul, Qatar and Valencia – for the programme. The programme received the highest level of honour from Singapore this evening at the MIT Global Innovation Gala Dinner, graced by Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam, President of the Republic of Singapore, at his official residence, the Istana.
“We are excited to host leaders from around the world in Singapore to discuss innovation and entrepreneurship. These are areas that are close to our hearts as part of the Prime Minister’s Smart Nation vision,” Steve Leonard, Executive Deputy Chairman of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, said. “Every successful innovation ecosystem needs top universities; multibillion annual R&D investments; a fast-growing community of tech start-ups, and large pools of risk capital. Singapore is fortunate to be able to combine all these assets together with the commitment of government and the private sector, to build tech start-ups that tackle some of the world’s most critical challenges in areas such as healthcare, transportation and energy.”
Over the next three days (22 – 24 July), the MIT faculty will deliver a series of highly interactive workshops to guide the participating regions in promoting economic development and job creation. Participating regions in the current cohort include Singapore, London, Morocco, Moscow, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Seoul (South Korea) and Valencia (Spain). REAP helps these regions to design and implement strategies to build robust innovation-driven entrepreneurial ecosystems. Each region is comprised of a diverse team of stakeholders, including representatives from government, corporates, universities, risk capital and entrepreneurship sectors. The programme also cultivates a global community of regions and builds bridges for greater exchange of ideas and sharing of best practices.
“Regions around the world aspire to become the ‘next’ Silicon Valley, but few realize they should play to their own region’s strengths, and fewer know how to get there,” said MIT Professor Fiona Murray, Associate Dean at the Sloan School of Management and co-director of the MIT’s new Innovation Initiative. “REAP provides real-world solutions for participating regions to develop the building blocks necessary to create an economic ecosystem that is attractive to high-growth start-ups. By having the opportunity to collaborate with MIT and with similar regions around the world, participants are able to get a systematic view into how they can create an environment that boosts economic and social progress.”
As the host country, Singapore will also be organising ecosystem engagement tours to share with the overseas delegates how Singapore’s journey towards being a Smart Nation drives innovation and entrepreneurship that aims to tackle some of the world’s most important urban challenges. One such key initiative is the local and global accelerator partnerships seeded by the Government since March last year, which have helped build a steady stream of scalable tech companies through enabling a community of investors, corporates and start-ups to work together to develop solutions that serve global markets. The acceleration efforts have helped fast-track the economic output back into the ecosystem and as such, led to an accelerator boom in the country over the past few months.
“Singapore is clearly a burgeoning hub of innovation, and we are delighted to be hosting our MIT global initiative here,” added Professor Fiona Murray. “By participating in REAP, Team Singapore is helping its nation take the next steps to becoming a global powerhouse for technological development that soon other regions will look to as an example.”
Team Singapore is led by Steve Leonard, Executive Deputy Chairman of IDA, and comprises seven key influencers in Singapore’s ecosystem. They are Dr Alex Lin, Head of Infocomm Investments Pte Ltd; Ong Peng Tsin, Partner of Monk’s Hill Ventures; Jeffrey Paine, General Partner of Golden Gate Ventures; Wong Meng Weng, Co-Founder & Chairman of Joyful Frog Digital Incubator; Dr Lily Chan, Chief Executive Officer of NUS Enterprise; Edgar Hardless, Chief Executive Officer of SingTel Innov8 and Teo Lay Lim, Senior Managing Director, ASEAN of Accenture