Innovative Asean start-ups invited to join WEF meeting

A logo of the World Economic Forum (WEF) is seen as people attend the WEF annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. PHOTO: REUTERS
A logo of the World Economic Forum (WEF) is seen as people attend the WEF annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. PHOTO: REUTERS

The region's most innovative start-ups have been invited to take part in the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi in September.

The forum's Start-Ups programme aims to draw such companies to the summit so they can build connections with one another as well as with other stakeholders, to pinpoint new opportunities and find ways to employ technology to enable regional expansion.

Eligible companies should be less than 10 years old, have received at least one round of funding, be generating revenue and be tackling problems or delivering services in highly innovative ways.

Experts from regional start-up accelerators, venture capital and private equity funds and the tech sector, as well as economists, will be joining the WEF and The Straits Times on a judging panel to decide the final selection of start-ups.

The ones picked will get a chance to share their stories at an Innovation Hub at the forum and stay connected with a regional community of innovators, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders once the event is over.

Applications can be lodged at http://wef.ch/aseanstartup2018 by Thursday.

  • 11,000

    Labour force set to expand by this number of workers every day for the next 15 years.

Around 850 people are expected at the summit, including 70 Asean government ministers and 550 business leaders.

Mr Justin Wood, the WEF's head of Asia-Pacific and a member of its executive committee, noted: "The aim is to nurture tomorrow's corporate champions and to upgrade regional innovation ecosystems to deliver positive change to the region."

While Asean represents one of the fastest-growing and dynamic regions of the world, technology is disrupting economic systems, social structures and employment, he said.

And while the labour force is set to expand by 11,000 workers every day for the next 15 years, robots now outcompete low-skilled manufacturing labour. Artificial intelligence also threatens Asean's service jobs.

Entrepreneurship, the creation of new companies and new industries, is the way for the region's growing workforce to find jobs, Mr Wood said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 17, 2018, with the headline 'Innovative Asean start-ups invited to join WEF meeting'. Print Edition | Subscribe