Technology

Startup ecosystem in SG gets new voice, direction

James Tan, new Chairman of the Board of Directors of Action Community for Entrepreneurship, says he is confident that the startup ecosystem in Singapore will recover.
James Tan, new Chairman of the Board of Directors of Action Community for Entrepreneurship, says he is confident that the startup ecosystem in Singapore will become stronger.

The startup ecosystem in Singapore will recover from the COVID-19 crisis and the community will emerge stronger. This is according to James Tan, who has been appointed as the new Chairman of the Board of Directors of Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE).

With more than 3,600 startups employing 18,000 people, more than 100 incubators, accelerators and venture builders, and 150 venture capital funds in Singapore, ACE’s scope has increased tremendously since its inception in 2003 by the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Impact of pandemic

“This is an opportune time for ACE to revalidate and expand the role it was set up for — to support the startup ecosystem in their journey to become viable business going concerns. In this difficult period for startups, ACE provided ground-up support through public webinars and private matching activities such as the COVID-19 Seminar Series and Meet-The-VC Sessions,” Tan said in a press statement.

The global recession is in force. Singapore’s gross domestic product is forecast to shrink by between 4 percent to 7 percent this year. As such, consumer spending behavior will take a sharp turn to a cash preservation mindset. Startups face considerably more challenges than legacy businesses in this commercial new normal.

ACE has been working closely with community stakeholders, especially government agencies, innovation enablers, and startups. Its goal is to drive entrepreneurship and innovation in Singapore and beyond aggressively. ACE also helps facilitate disbursement of government grants. One of these is the Startup SG Founder grant. Another is the Global Talent Ready grant, which saw a surge in inquiries during this pandemic.

“The Innovation Island” is the vision that Mr. Tan has set for Singapore.

“The whole-of-economy digital transformation momentum from COVID-19 provides an impetus for the Singapore economy to become ‘The Innovation Island’.

“Every crisis presents its opportunities. COVID-19 is cultivating a generation of resourceful, black swan-event-smart, and resilient Singapore entrepreneurs. Their collective experience and war stories will mold them into future leaders in our innovation ecosystem. We believe that such market-operating nous coupled with dexterous operating mindsets raise the ‘entrepreneur’ quotient of the Singapore business world. The outcome is a much more permanent systematic impact,” Tan said.

If you’re a startup in Singapore, you may check out these resources to help you weather the storm.