Singapore exploring programme to help turn tech innovators into entrepreneurs

SINGAPORE - Computer scientists, engineers and software developers here will soon have a chance to go to school to learn to be entrepreneurs.

They will be able to attend an intensive six-month course to turn their innovations into commercial products, according to a media release from the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) on Monday.

Infocomm Investments (IIPL), IDA's investment arm, is in discussions to bring such a programme to Singapore with Britain-based Entrepreneur First, an organisation that recruits talented tech talent to experiment with new projects before they form a company.

This was announced on Monday night as the Founders Forum Smart Nation Singapore event kicked off at the Istana, marking the start of the Smart Nation Innovations week.

While many new graduates and corporate executives have become entrepreneurs in recent years, few computer scientists, engineers and other technical professionals have made the jump to entrepreneurship.

Industry observers say they are either not business minded or do not know what it takes to be an entrepreneur.

This would be an opportunity for them to think about commercialising the ideas they have been working on, they said.

Entrepreneur First aims to help engineers, computer scientists, and hackers from across Europe turn their technologies into start-ups by providing funding and other support.

Some of them join 100-day programmes that are run by more than 20 specialist tech organisations called accelerators and incubators where they work with business mentors to tweak their new ideas, marketing strategies and commercialisation plans.

At the end of the programme, they are ready to pitch to investors to get funding to build their start-ups.

Over the last two years, the company has supported 60 innovators working in fields as diverse as drones, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, Bitcoin and marketplaces, IDA said in its media release.

Those innovators have gone on to build 20 tech companies that are now valued at over US$100 million, having raised more than US$20 million of external funding.