Singapore Budget 2014: $10 million IDA Labs programmes to nurture tech start-ups talents

The Infocomm Development Authority is starting a $10 million initiative called the IDA Labs to build Singapore-based tech companies and nurture new tech talent.

One 400 square-metre lab will be at the soon-to-open National Design Centre. It will "serve as a meeting point" for technology, media and design professionals to "collaborate on new products and services such as sensors, games and data visualisation", said Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim. The labs contain facilities such as 3D printers and laser cutters that "allow them to build prototypes, test-bed new ideas and speed up the development of new products and services."

Another 300 square-metre lab at IDA's Mapletree Business City Headquarters will be used for a brand new accreditation programme. Here, products from Singapore technology start-ups can be "plugged in" and tested for the feasibility of use within a government context and for demonstration to potential users. The Accreditation programme is meant to help these start-ups "establish their credentials, increase visibility to potential government and large enteprise buyers and gain more opportunities through government work", said the minister.

To build more Singapore-based tech start-ups, the IDA, in collaboration with industry partners, will also introduce accelerator programmes to mentor young start-ups. This will help nurture a pipeline of Singapore technology start-ups that are "well-placed to attract funding and investments".

The Accelerator programme will allow promising start-ups to "scale fast, secure early funding and grow to excel on the global stage", Mr Yaacob added. IDA has already partnered the Joyful Frog Digital Incubator for these mentorship programmes and the first intake will take place this month.

The IDA Labs will also support programmes for schools which will allow students to experiment with technologies such as microprocessors like the Raspberry Pi and Arduino. This is to further develop computational thinking among the young.