#Asia NUS Enterprise teams up with IBM for a new startup community platform


Singapore's launchpad startup hub

Singapore’s startup hub in Ayer Rajah.

In his 1999 stand-up comedy show Dress to Kill, British comedian Eddie Izzard questioned the lyrics of the UK’s national anthem, “God Save the Queen.” His argument was that, with all her wealth and the security measures surrounding her, the Queen of England has no need of saving.

One could argue that Singapore’s startup ecosystem is similarly protected. While it’s by no means easy to go out and start your own business, Singapore provides a safer environment to do so than most places around the world. There’s government support, funding, policies in place that promote entrepreneurship, and of course, numerous incubators and accelerators, both private and state-funded.

To paraphrase Eddie, this is one saved startup ecosystem.

Nevertheless, NUS Enterprise, the National University of Singapore’s entrepreneurship cluster that nurtures Singapore’s future business talents, announced today it has added a new weapon in the city-state’s startup defense arsenal.

In collaboration with tech staple IBM, it has launched TechSG, a “new digital platform for Singapore’s technology entrepreneurial ecosystem,” according to a statement. It is intended to be an online community for collaboration and information within the Singaporean startup space, integrating various resources and networks already in place in the country.

TechSG will “provide curated research insights and analytical tools for visualizing and tracking the diversity, interdependency, growth dynamics, and vibrancy of Singapore’s entrepreneurial community.” The program is currently in its first phase, containing over 250 organizations within the Ayer Rajah LaunchPad area, Singapore’s main startup hub where Block 71, 73, and 79 are located.

NUS Enterprise hopes to have covered Singapore’s ecosystem completely by May 2016.

The online platform has been developed by Singaporean prototyping and development studio Wonderlabs, and designed by NUS Enterprise, which also curates the content. TechSG is an open platform, using IBM’s Cloud technology – this includes open standards cloud platform Bluemix and SoftLayer’s cloud infrastructure. In addition to that, IBM offers US$120,000 worth of “cloud credits” to startups through its Global Entrepreneur Program. The TechSG program is part of IBM’s Digital City initiative, which consists of similar online communities in cities like New York, London, Berlin, Bangalore, Boston, and more.

“We will experiment with some of the innovative ideas generated over the next few months,” said professor Wong Poh Kam, director of NUS Entrepreneurship Center and the project’s lead researcher, in a statement. “This includes new ways to crowdsource information updates in real time and new analytical tools to benchmark the vibrancy and dynamism of Singapore’s entrepreneurial ecosystem versus those of other high tech hubs such as New York, London and Berlin.”

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