EDB launches $10 million programme to help Singapore firms venture into new growth areas

The pilot programme has an expected capacity to support up to 20 companies through concept validation sprints. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - A $10 million pilot programme to support large and established Singapore-based companies to venture into new growth areas beyond their existing core businesses was launched on Thursday (May 6).

The Corporate Venture Launchpad programme will enable such companies to keep ahead of competition and disruption with innovative products, services and business models, said the Economic Development Board (EDB).

Run by EDB New Ventures, the board's corporate venture-building arm, it was first announced by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat in Budget 2021 in February.

Under the programme, eligible companies will work alongside appointed venture studios to incubate new business ideas in a phased approach.

EDB chairman Beh Swan Gin said that large local and multinational companies in Singapore are embracing innovation and entrepreneurship to keep ahead of competition and disruption.

"As companies pursue opportunities in sectors that are new for them, the creation of these ventures has the potential to become a growth driver for the Singapore economy.

"The Corporate Venture Launchpad programme seeks to spur companies to create new ventures from Singapore that can scale to become globally competitive businesses. These corporate ventures will complement our vibrant start-up ecosystem to create exciting job opportunities and new entrepreneurial career pathways in Singapore," said Dr Beh.

The pilot programme, which will run for one year, has an expected capacity to support up to 20 companies through concept validation sprints.

Such sprints involve applying venture-building methodologies to develop ideas into an investible business, with a plan that is backed by data and validated through in-depth testing with the market within three to six months.

EDB New Ventures will support up to half the cost of each concept validation sprint.

High-potential ventures launched from this programme could receive further risk-sharing capital and value creation support beyond the sprints to see through their early stages of growth.

(Clockwise from top right) EDB chairman Beh Swan Gin, EDB executive vice-president of innovation and new ventures Choo Heng Tong, BCG Digital Ventures' Mr Peter Cho, FutureLabs Ventures' Mr Mario Aquino, McKinsey Singapore's Mr Badrinath Ramanathan, and Rainmaking Venture Studio's Mr Samuel Hall, at the MOU signing on May 6, 2021. PHOTO: ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BOARD

Mr Choo Heng Tong, executive vice-president of new ventures and innovation at EDB, said that while companies have the capacity to innovate, much of their focus is often on optimising core business operations.

"Building ventures with an agile and autonomous entrepreneurial team will allow them to effectively search and build new growth areas," Mr Choo said.

"Concept validation sprints with the support of venture studios allow companies to take a customer and market-first approach to determine what new business to build, and is often the first step in their corporate venturing journey."

Companies interested in the launchpad programme can visit EDB's website for more details. Applications are open from Thursday.

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