ESG enhances Startup SG Founder programme

Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash
Photo by Franck V.

Enterprise Singapore (ESG) will be enhancing the Startup SG Founder programme to boost the pipeline of new innovative startups in Singapore. Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced during his Ministerial Speech on 17 August that up to S$150 million has been set aside for this.

Rolled out since 2017, Startup SG Founder provides first-time entrepreneurs with mentorship support and startup capital grant through Accredited Mentor Partners (AMPs).

Minister for Trade and Industry, Chan Chun Sing, and Minister for Manpower, Josephine Teo, shared more details on the enhancements during a visit to The Greenhouse, a new incubation space at the Singapore Management University (SMU). The enhancements are the introduction of three-month Venture Building programmes to groom aspiring entrepreneurs with no business experience to build and scale innovative startups, and raising the grant support while maintaining the matching amount for the Startup SG Founder grant to help willing entrepreneurs take their first step.

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Said Mr Edwin Chow, Assistant Chief Executive Officer (Innovation & Enterprise), Enterprise Singapore, “Our startup ecosystem has contributed to Singapore’s ongoing transformation to an innovation-driven economy. Startups have an innate ability to adapt and pivot, to quickly spot opportunities and provide effective solutions. This is especially important during crises.

“By enhancing the Startup SG Founder programme, we hope to enable more aspiring entrepreneurs to start new ventures and accelerate the formation of innovative startups in Singapore,” he concluded.

Grooming a pipeline of entrepreneurs through Venture Building programmes

To help aspiring new entrepreneurs get their foot off the ground, ESG will introduce a new track by appointing Venture Builders to provide a three-month Venture Building programme. The programme will provide support for sourcing innovation, commercialising these ideas into scalable businesses, getting product/solution validation from customers and finding capital.

The appointed partners will also serve as the AMPs, providing support for the participants to seek co-founders, connect them to industry experts for mentorship, as well as provide them with shared resources such as co-working spaces.

These Venture Building programmes will help participants build a stronger foundation in entrepreneurship, and develop innovative products or solutions that are relevant to market needs. This will increase their chances of success in the long run.

The Venture Building programmes will be open to Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents. Each participant will receive a monthly stipend of S$1,500 for the duration of the programme.

Venture Builders will be selected based on their track record in generating strong ventures. As a start, five Autonomous Universities (Nanyang Technological University, National University of Singapore, Singapore Management University, Singapore University of Technology and Design and Singapore University of Social Sciences) will come on board as partners to provide Venture Building programmes. ESG will progressively expand the list of partners for the Venture Building programmes.

Enhancing support for startup capital for willing entrepreneurs

ESG will raise the grant quantum of Startup SG Founder from S$30,000 to S$50,000. This will help to extend the runway for startups to develop their business ideas, as generating revenue will be more challenging than before during this period. To support willing startups who wish to start their companies during this period, the matching amount for startups will remain at S$10,000.

In addition, to tap the Startup SG Founder grant, startups must now be formed with minimally three Singaporeans and/or Permanent Residents, inclusive of founder(s), of which at least two of them must be first-time founders. This will encourage founders to start with a range of competencies that will be complementary in scaling their businesses.

Accredited Mentor Partners (AMPs) to continue to provide guidance

Entrepreneurs who are ready to launch their startups will continue to receive mentorship from close to 50 AMPs appointed by ESG under Startup SG Founder. The AMPs help to identify eligible startups based on the uniqueness of their business concepts, feasibility of business models, strength of their management teams, and their potential market value.

The enhanced Startup SG Founder programme adds to the comprehensive support that is already available to existing startups, covering various aspects such as equity funding, mentorship and other resources.