19 October 2014

Singapore SMEs, startups get government boost for R&D&C

Help for SMEs and startups from the Singapore government for R&D&C continues to grow. The term comes from extending research and development (R&D) all the way to commercialisation (C).

Today, that help includes cash grants, business incubator schemes, and tax incentives, said Lim Chuan Poh, Chairman, Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), speaking as the guest of honour at Developer and Global Entrepreneur Day during IBM's XCite event in Singapore.

"At A*STAR, our commercialisation arm, ETPL, supports budding technopreneurs from A*STAR's research institutes who desire to spin off their inventions. In March this year, we also introduced Headstart, a programme which grants royalty-free and exclusive intellectual property licenses for the first 18 months to SMEs that collaborate with A*STAR," he said.

Over the past five years, more than 700 SMEs have undertaken close to 2,200 projects with A*STAR, Lim disclosed, adding that the organisation's licensing policies and terms have been enhanced and simplified to allow more SMEs and startups to benefit from A*STAR's research. 

Besides providing IP to enable the development of new products and services, the government also helps SMEs and start-ups harness technology for business 

"At A*STAR, we facilitate technology adoption and upgrading through a variety of initiatives. For example, our Growing Enterprises through Technology Upgrade or GET-Up Programme includes a scheme that seconds researchers to SMEs to work on innovation projects leading to new products and services. 
In addition, A*STAR’s Technology Adoption Programme (TAP) offers technology 
consultancy to SMEs and subsequently matches them with solution providers," said Lim. 

Lim shared that A*STAR’s TAP team has engaged more than 4,600 
companies and helped more than 650 companies adopt new technologies since 2013. SPRING has invested S$40 million in 2011 to launch sector-specific accelerators to identify, invest and grow startups in areas like medical and clean technology as well.