Better infrastructure for innovation needed in future economy

It is exciting to learn that the Committee on the Future Economy that has been tasked to recommend how Singapore could position itself in the years ahead has identified five key strategic areas ("Future Economy committee zooms in on 5 areas"; Sunday).

This will undoubtedly put Singapore in a good position.

Details won't be revealed until early next year, but hopefully, the committee will propose a bevy of goodies centring on strengthening ties among the local business, educational and scientific communities.

This will serve to facilitate and accelerate the transition of innovation-empowered, "new economy-ready" Singaporean workers from school to workforce.

The "goodies" should include tax incentives to encourage investment in start-ups, for example, tax rebates for venture capitalists and crowdfunding investors in start-ups; grants to incentivise in-bound innovators, investors and entrepreneurial talents; and policies that lessen the burden and remove the stigma of failure, for example, reduced bankruptcy periods for start-up founders.

The committee could also introduce initiatives to create more conducive environments in Singapore schools that promote the development of non-cognitive attributes, such as perseverance and creativity, qualities that will be essential in the new economy of the future.

Last year, Australia, which Singapore has a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with, launched its A$1.1 billion (S$1.14 billion) Ideas Boom programme to transform its economy into one based on innovation and technology ("'Ideas boom' will revive economy: Turnbull"; Dec 8, 2015).

With its Committee on the Future Economy, Singapore, too, is well placed to build a more robust and resilient future economy.

Woon Wee Min

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 28, 2016, with the headline 'Better infrastructure for innovation needed in future economy'. Print Edition | Subscribe