More space for start-ups at one-north by end-2014

Budding entrepreneurs in Singapore will soon have more working space to turn their ideas into new products and services.

Industrial developer JTC has launched a cluster site to provide more work and recreational facilities for start-ups.

With the opening of JTC Launchpad @ one-north, the government plans to drive more private sector involvement in the start-up community.

Block 71 at Ayer Rajah Crescent currently houses around 250 startups.

It will soon be part of a cluster with two other blocks — Block 73 and Block 79. Together, the community size will be doubled to some 500 start-ups.

Nine companies have already expressed interest in the new space.

They include start-up incubator NUS Enterprise which has been in Block 71 for more than two years.

NUS Enterprise has provided support to almost 200 young entrepreneurs, and it said the new space will provide opportunities for greater collaboration and networking.

Dr Lily Chan, CEO of NUS Enterprise, said: “Some of our small companies can now go on to occupy — not just NUS companies, any company in the area — …larger spaces.

“More importantly, in a community like that it’s not just about young start-ups. It’s about slightly more mature companies because they provide experience and interactions; they are the partners of the young companies, maybe even the acquirers of the young companies.”

The expanded cluster will accommodate start-ups and incubators in industries such as infocomm, media and biomedical.

Speaking at the launch, Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck said the government aims to drive more private sector involvement.

Mr Teo said: “What we’re trying to do is make sure that the private sector does most of the work within this Launchpad. The vibrancy has to be created by them. It will become a bottom-up approach, while the government takes a facilitating role in building this whole stage and platform for them to make things happen.

“In Silicon Valley, for example, there is no government intervention as well, there’s just vibrancy. In Singapore, we realise we have our own uniqueness; we’ve got constraints as well. Some form of government intervention is necessary, but there comes a point where we think we can take a more supporting role.”

The new cluster is built in collaboration with SPRING Singapore and other government agencies, including A*STAR, the Infocomm Development Authority, Media Development Authority and National Research Foundation, and is scheduled to be ready by the end of this year.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 12 Mar 2014

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