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Huddle, huddle: Silicon Valley vibe hoped for new cluster

SINGAPORE — The Republic’s ambition of developing a mini Silicon Valley is a step closer to being realised following the launch of an expanded cluster for start-ups, and comes as the Government outlined plans to take on more of a strategic and supportive role, instead of being an “active intervening” player.

SINGAPORE — The Republic’s ambition of developing a mini Silicon Valley is a step closer to being realised following the launch of an expanded cluster for start-ups, and comes as the Government outlined plans to take on more of a strategic and supportive role, instead of being an “active intervening” player.

Called JTC LaunchPad @ one-north, the 5ha site located opposite Fusionopolis will provide more space for incubators and start-ups, in the hope of creating a mini Silicon Valley-like community, Mr Teo Ser Luck, Minister of State for Trade and Industry, said at the launch event.

Building on the success of the pilot incubation centre at Block 71 Ayer Rajah Crescent, the LaunchPad will comprise two additional buildings: Block 73, a three-storey building with space for up to 80 start-ups and Block 79, a five-storey tower with space for up to 150 firms.

Together, the expansion will add nearly 12,000 sq m of net lettable space when completed at the end of the year and almost double the current community at one-north to 500 start-ups. If successful, it could also spawn other similar clusters in Singapore, said Mr Teo.

“It’s important that we treat entrepreneurship in different ways. It’s not about giving just grants; we have plenty of grants and funds already for entrepreneurs. It is about building the environment, building the ecosystem for entrepreneurs to blossom, to succeed, so we catalyse more and more people (who are) interested to set up businesses,” said Mr Teo.

“I’m not only looking for a Facebook, Google or Twitter. If you can list, that’s good for you. What I’m looking for is to develop a culture of entrepreneurship. It’s a small step … but it’s a milestone, because if this is successful, we will build more of such clusters.”

The Launchpad is a collaboration between JTC Corp, SPRING Singapore and several other government agencies to seed the growth of start-ups not only in the infocomms industry, but also in biomedical sciences, electronics and engineering.

Mr Png Cheong Boon, Chief Executive Officer of JTC, said nine companies have already expressed interest in setting up their facilities at the LaunchPad.

Meanwhile, Mr Teo also called on the private sector to assist in boosting the entrepreneurship eco-system, saying the government intends take a step back to “facilitate and support” instead of being an active involved player.

“The difference between us and Silicon Valley, or New York City, is the amount of government intervention. In Singapore, the government plays a relative big role to catalyse the entire system. I think moving on, we have to take a less intervention role, more supportive role, working with partners to make this succeed.” He said the government will focus on taking on a more strategic role, such as designing the Launchpad and looking at the progress of the whole landscape.

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