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Photo: Ministry of Communication

Startup SG Founder: S$20m budget to support first-time entrepreneurs

To support first-time entrepreneurs who are just starting out, the Startup SG Founder scheme has prepared a budget of about $20 million.

This was announced by Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon on Wednesday (22 Mar) at at the LaunchPad @ One-North Phase 2 Housewarming Party, an event marking the opening of the three new blocks.

The Government have enhanced its funding support for deep-tech startups, which typically have longer commercialisation runways.

Under Startup SG Equity, the investment cap for Government’s co-investment support for promising deep-tech startups will be doubled from $2m to $4m. The level of support for startups from all sectors will also be increased from 50% to 70%.  Altogether, the Government has allocated about $200m under Startup SG Equity to co-invest in startups.

Under the Startup Founder scheme, first-time entrepreneurs can tap on a start-up capital grant and mentorship support. Successful applicants will be teamed with mentors under a new Accredited Mentor Partners (AMPs) approach.

Mr Koh said, these AMPs will include incubators and accelerators which will provide advice, networking and learning opportunities for  first-time entrepreneurs.

“They will also help entrepreneurs obtain pre-seed funding.  I am pleased to announce that SPRING will be launching its call-for-collaboration from today for interested parties to come on board as AMPs,” he said.

Mr Koh said the Government is further strengthening support for the startup ecosystem to help it take off in a much larger way.

He also unveiled the logo for Startup SG, the umbrella branding for the Government’s start-up support schemes.

Mr Koh said, “The colours red and white were chosen for the logo because they are our national colours.  The geographic pin with the letters ‘SG’ in the middle signifies our aspiration for Singapore to become a destination in which startups will anchor themselves, while the inclusion of the ‘arrow’ is emblematic of upward drive.”

The Startup SG Founder scheme replaces the existing ACE Startups Grant (for first-time entrepreneurs) and iJam Tier 1 grant (for startups in the interactive digital media sector) and will support more entrepreneurs with innovative ideas to start their businesses with mentorship support and a startup capital grant.  Interested parties may refer to the Startup SG website for more information.

The changes to the Startup SG Founder and Startup SG Equity schemes will take effect on 1 May 2017.

Of the LaunchPad @ one-north, it has developed into the nexus of a vibrant and global startup community, bringing together entrepreneurs, accelerators, incubators and venture capitalists.

LaunchPad @ one-north is currently home to more than 800 startups and almost 50 incubators.  Notably, the size of the working population here has more than tripled from 1,200 in 2015 to 4,300 today.

A more diverse range of startups has called LaunchPad @ one-north home, from different fields such as engineering, biomedical services, fintech and urban solutions.

Additionally, LaunchPad @ one-north is attracting increased interest from international incubators and corporations who see the value of being plugged into the community here to tap on the new technologies developed by the startups, which can be commercialised regionally and globally.