New innovation network to give start-ups a leg-up

Sports technology start-up Elxr aims to customise a training programme based on genetic analysis to optimise fitness regimes. It has partnerships with the Singapore Sports Hub and several Japanese conglomerates, but wants to grow further.

With the launch of the Innovation Enablers Network (IEN) in Singapore, Elxr founder and chief executive Steffan Fung, 39, hopes his firm, set up 18 months ago, can gain more exposure.

"It's a good opportunity to show organisations that there are sports technology companies like ours in Singapore, especially since this industry is considered quite niche here and in Asia," he said.

Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon announced the network's launch yesterday at the first Experience the Power of Innovation and Collaboration networking event.

IEN comes under the Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE) and is supported by Enterprise SG. ACE is a private-sector-led organisation to drive entrepreneurship and innovation in Singapore.

In his speech, Dr Koh said a start-up ecosystem needs the involvement of organisations like corporations and institutes of higher learning to grow. The network complements the Startup SG Network, which provides an online listing of deep-tech start-ups, investors, incubators and accelerators.

"Besides benefiting start-ups in their strategic partnerships with corporates, the network will also support the value proposition of Singapore as a global innovation and start-up hub," he added.

BENEFITS FOR START-UPS

Besides benefiting start-ups in their strategic partnerships with corporates, the network will also support the value proposition of Singapore as a global innovation and start-up hub.

SENIOR MINISTER OF STATE FOR TRADE AND INDUSTRY

KOH POH KOON

ACE chief executive Edmas Neo said the organisation is looking to share 100 innovation opportunities through the IEN within the next 12 months.

Yesterday's event, which was jointly organised by ACE and JTC, and held at Launchpad @ one-north, featured a career fair and drew around 800 attendees and 40 exhibiting start-ups.

Rewards platform start-up Galaxies Studios managing director Yappy Yap, 34, said the event allowed his firm to connect with other companies, understand some start-up trends and look for interns for the 10-month-old company.

ACE yesterday marked its fifth anniversary since its restructuring as a private entity. In the five years, it has supported more than 2,000 start-ups and facilitated over 200 mentorships. It has a network connecting some 25,000 start-ups across 16 cities.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 17, 2019, with the headline 'New innovation network to give start-ups a leg-up'. Print Edition | Subscribe