Budget 2018: SMEC suggests to develop startups into unicorns

Recently, the SME Committee (SMEC) submitted a proposal to the Government as part of the Budget 2018. The proposal included plans to offer incentives to attract startups with the potential to be unicorns, to set up headquarters in Singapore.

Through tax incentives, government grants, tax deductions, and rebates, private companies are better able to conduct its research and development and create more jobs for the Singapore economy and Singaporeans. Intellectual property (IP) holding and other key functions are to be housed in Singapore, are criteria, amongst others, for the private company to enjoy incentives offered by the Government.

Further support for IP acquisition financing for IP assets, and the acquisition of IP-owning companies was also included in the proposal as an expansion of the Intellectual Property Financing Scheme (IPFS). The SMEC also called for greater accessibility to government schemes, enhancements of the Business Grant Portal and the SME Portal to guide SMEs through the processes and requirements.

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4,000 jobs to be created in financial services and fintech under MAS blueprint

From Tan Weizhen at TODAYonline:

“Three quarters of the new jobs will be added in the financial services sectors, and these cut across the areas of wealth management, insurance and IT, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said. The roles include those in investment advisory, risk modelling and artificial intelligence. The industry has been buffeted by disruption, posting job losses which are expected to continue especially for the more traditional roles.”

Just two days ago, the Monetary Authority of Singapore released the Industry Transformation Map (ITM) for financial services, detailing growth strategies by business lines, programmes for upgrading skills, and an agenda for continuous innovation and technology adoption. Working closely with the financial industry and the tripartite movement, the MAS projected a growth rate in the financial sector of 4.3% per annum and productivity of 2.4% annually.

The ITM is built upon MAS’ vision for Singapore to be a leading global financial centre in Asia. Minister for Education and MAS board member, Mr Ong Ye Kung, described Singapore as one that connects global markets, supports Asia’s development and serves Singapore’s economy. With the rise of digital disruption such as artificial intelligence and robo-advisors, Singapore will need to continue to innovate to stay ahead.

While the creation of 4,000 jobs might seem idealistic, the MAS is determined to be net gainers in this era of change. The ITM strategies also include building private market funding platforms to enable startups to gain access to a wider array of investors, which could be done through crowdfunding platforms, apart from the traditional route of IPOs. Continue reading