Aussie start-ups set to take off with launch of 'landing pad' here

Australian start-ups now have yet another reason to look to Singapore.

At the launch of an Australian "landing pad" here yesterday, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran said the initiative will give Australian entrepreneurs "access to a network of contacts in Singapore and Asean, as well as in-market business development, investment and mentorship opportunities".

The landing pad is the latest initiative launched under the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, signed in 2015 to deepen cooperation between the two countries in trade and economics, foreign affairs, defence and security as well as people-to-people ties.

This is one of five landing pads the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) is establishing worldwide as part of the Australian National Innovation and Science Agenda. The others are in San Francisco, Tel Aviv, Shanghai and Berlin.

Singapore was an obvious choice, said Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop at the launch.

"Besides being good friends and having similar views on global and economic issues, it is also a gateway into Asia. As one of our closest partners, we were keen on launching a pad and increasing the number of our start-ups here," she said.

Mr Iswaran agreed Singapore can be a valuable partner for Australian start-ups and facilitate companies' entry into Asia. "We have a thriving innovation ecosystem with an active community of start-ups and internationally well-regarded research institutes and universities as well as breadth and depth in our corporate landscape," he added.

Mr Dan Hunter, the co-founder of Australian quiz game start-up Quitch, said: "Singapore's community is tightly knit, which makes it easier for business to be done because someone who fits the job can easily be found."

Apart from the perks the landing pad will offer start-ups from Down Under, Mr Iswaran also noted the positive contributions these firms will make to the start-up ecosystem and innovation environment here.

"An essential factor for innovation is the free flow and exchange of information and ideas between individuals, companies, institutions and countries. This landing pad will enable its participants to traverse geographical and cultural boundaries, fostering an open mindset that enables collaborations and partnerships for innovation," he said.

It is this mindset which Ms Bishop hopes Australian start-ups will adopt as they expand globally.

"I believe this landing pad will make a difference in the way we see the world, the way we capture technology and the way we have significant influence," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 14, 2017, with the headline 'Aussie start-ups set to take off with launch of 'landing pad' here'. Print Edition | Subscribe