At the Founders Forum Asia, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat discusses Singapore’s strategic initiatives to support startups and drive global innovation.

Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies Heng Swee Keat delivered a keynote address at the 3rd Founders Forum Asia Summit held on 17 April 2024, outlining Singapore’s pivotal role in the global and regional startup ecosystem.

Addressing an audience that included British High Commissioner Kara Owen and British Trade Commissioner for Asia Pacific Martin Kent, DPM Heng emphasized the critical impact of startups in today’s challenging economic landscape, citing his encounters with innovative startups across the world that are making significant strides in fields like fintech, drug discovery, decarbonisation, and agriculture productivity.

Despite current global challenges, including geopolitical tensions and a sluggish economic environment marked by high interest rates and economic protectionism, DPM Heng expressed optimism about the future. He highlighted the transformative potential of science and technology to foster sustainable and healthier lives, noting the robust interest and investment in deep tech startups. Specifically, he pointed out the 30% year-on-year growth in deep-tech deals in Singapore during 2023, underscoring the region’s dynamic potential for economic growth and innovation.

DPM Heng detailed Singapore’s strategy as a Global-Asia node to foster a vibrant Research, Innovation, and Enterprise (RIE) ecosystem. The nation has committed S$28 billion under the RIE2025 plan to bolster areas such as advanced manufacturing, urban solutions, sustainability, and the digital economy. This initiative includes significant investments in AI, showcasing Singapore’s role in developing cutting-edge technologies and supporting startups from inception to global expansion.

He also mentioned Singapore’s strong venture capital environment, with around 400 VCs and S$8 billion in investments in 2023, which has positioned Singapore as a leading hub for tech startups and incubators in Southeast Asia.

DPM Heng concluded by reaffirming Singapore’s commitment to serving as a stable base for startups, emphasizing the country’s strategic location, comprehensive trade agreements, and strong connectivity to ASEAN and global markets. He encouraged startups to leverage Singapore’s robust ecosystem to scale and expand into new markets.

The forum, which gathered founders and innovators from around the world, served as a platform to discuss trends, challenges, and opportunities in the startup world, with Singapore positioned as a key player in shaping the future of global entrepreneurship and innovation.

Source – PMO