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S’pore could explore housing regulators, start-ups under one roof: Chan Chun Sing

PARIS — Singapore could explore bringing regulators and start-ups under one roof, where government officials work hand in hand with fledgling businesses and “innovate” the rules, said Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing.

S’pore could explore housing regulators, start-ups under one roof: Chan Chun Sing

Trade Minister Chan Chun Sing witnessing the signing of the MOU between EDB Singapore, Enterprise Singapore and ESSEC Business School aimed at driving startup collaboration as part of the Global Innovation Alliance initiative.

PARIS — Singapore could explore bringing regulators and start-ups under one roof, where government officials work hand in hand with fledgling businesses and “innovate” the rules, said Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing.

Speaking to reporters in Paris on Thursday (July 12) after a visit to Station F — the world’s largest start-up incubator — Mr Chan said government officials were stationed there initially to help start-ups get their businesses going.

“But through the whole process, the government officials here became part of the start-up system because they’re also innovating the kind of rules (and) regulations that they want to put in place for them,” said Mr Chan.

Starting out as the “facilitator”, these officials were led by the same spirit and culture to “want to innovate their rules”, Mr Chan said. “It’s a very interesting idea that we can explore in Singapore.”

While the Government was already paying much attention to and has been adjusting the rules constantly on this front, Mr Chan said government officials and start-ups are not “physically” sited together in the Republic.

He likened the idea to the tripartite partnership between the Government, employers and unions in the manpower arena. Bringing regulators and start-ups together would translate into a partnership between “the Government, business and technopreneurs”.

Asked if such relationships are increasingly important as governments grapple with regulatory approaches to disruptive businesses, Mr Chan said “regulatory agility” was one of Singapore’s competitive advantages, as the country cannot bank on old rules to regulate new business models.

“The question is, how do you build this culture? This is the work not just of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, but also the whole Public Service Division. How do you innovate your rules to make it a competitive advantage?” said Mr Chan, who is also the Minister-in-charge of the Public Service.

Mr Chan, who arrived in Paris from Brussels where he reaffirmed Singapore’s economic ties with the European Union, said the pace of innovation has intensified and the reach that technology affords presently is “much different from what we used to be able to do”.

Hence, Singapore should seize opportunities to plug itself into global networks, so as to create better jobs for Singaporeans and more opportunities for its businesses, he said.

Earlier on Thursday at Station F, Mr Chan and French Secretary of State for Digital Affairs, Mr Mounir Mahjoubi, witnessed the signing of three bilateral agreements to deepen collaboration between start-ups and drive co-operation on innovation.

For example, an agreement between government agency Enterprise Singapore and Bpifrance — France’s agency responsible for developing French companies via help and financial support — will pave the way for joint innovation projects between companies from both sides, as well as improve connections between the French and Singaporean entrepreneurship communities via networking platforms, among other things.

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