Plug and Play Singapore Selected Under NRF’s Technology Incubation Scheme
NRF’s Technology Incubation Scheme seeks to build up a pool of start-ups with greater chances of success in turning innovative ideas into commercial businesses
The National Research Foundation (NRF), on the recommendation of an evaluation panel, announced today the selection of seven Incubator Managers under its Technology Incubation Scheme (TIS) to nurture early stage high tech start-up companies in Singapore. A budget of S$50 million has been set-aside for this purpose.
The TIS is an initiative under the $360 million National Framework for Innovation and Enterprise1 (NFIE) program announced by the Prime Minister in March 2008. Under this scheme, which is similar to the successful Israeli model, NRF will provide up to 85% co-investment in each start-up company identified by the selected Incubator Managers, up to a maximum of S$500,000 per company. The Incubator Manager will be required to invest at least the balance of 15% in the start-up. As an incentive, the Incubator Manager will be given an option upfront to buy out NRF’s share in the invested start-ups within 3 years of investment by repaying the capital plus interest. In this way, the government will share the downside risks of the investments, while giving the Incubator Managers the potential upside in successful investments, in return for their efforts in nurturing the start-ups. This would align the interests of all parties towards the success of the start-up companies.
A call for proposal for the TIS was launched on 25 August 2009. It received very good response, with 32 proposals submitted from both local and foreign incubator managers, operating across various areas of science and technology. The Evaluation Panel based on the strength of their proposals eventually selected seven incubators, including the successful Plug and Play incubator from Silicon Valley.
Mr. Teo Ming Kian, Permanent Secretary (National Research & Development) and Chairman of the TIS evaluation panel said: “We are encouraged by the very enthusiastic response to our TIS call for proposal and are pleased with the quality of proposals received. An important criterion for the selection of these Incubator Managers is their passion and commitment to provide mentorship to promising startups in Singapore. Also important is the extensiveness of their networks, and their ability to link start-up companies with customers and investors for subsequent funding. Under the guidance of these Incubator Managers, these start ups would greatly improve their chances of turning their ideas into viable businesses for the global market.”
Agreeing with this, panel member and entrepreneur Mr. Eddie Chau, Founder and CEO of Brandtology Pte Ltd, a Singapore-based startup said: “The process of starting a high tech company is fraught with challenges. Systematic guidance from experienced entrepreneurs makes a great difference in helping companies at this early stage start on the right footing and maximizes their chances of success. The Incubator Managers selected under the TIS were those with wide experience in the high tech business and strong links with angels, venture capital and technology businesses in Singapore and beyond.”