NUS entrepreneurial arm opens start-up hub in Jakarta to boost S'pore, Indonesia innovation

The photo shows the new Block71 Jakarta start-up hub in the Indonesian capital, a partnership between the National University of Singapore's enterpreneurial arm NUS Enterprise and Indonesian conglomerate Salim Group.

JAKARTA - NUS Enterprise start-hub Block71 Jakarta officially opened its doors in the Indonesian capital on Friday (July 28).

The project, based on Block71 in Ayer Rajah here, is a partnership between the National University of Singapore's entrepreneurial arm and Indonesian conglomerate Salim Group.

The 1,500 sq m facility in the Kuningan district houses 24 businesses, hailing from both countries. Operations began in March (2017).

NUS Enterprise chief executive Lily Chan said: "Block71 Jakarta is open to all start-ups and entrepreneurs who are keen to explore the Indonesian market. In particular, we strongly encourage companies which are developing innovative technology solutions with the potential to scale globally to apply."

pslove, which sells heat patches to alleviate menstrual cramps, is among the Singapore start-ups that have ventured into Block71 Jakarta.

"As a consumer product company, we go where the demand is. For the past couple months, we have been getting multiple requests from Indonesia and this is a natural move for us," pslove founder Tan Peck Ying told The Straits Times.

Another Singapore-headquartered company that has made the jump across the Java Sea is Viddsee, which produces, distributes and markets Asian short movies.

Co-founder Ho Jia Jian told The Straits Times that Viddsee decided to enter Indonesia because of the country's rapid potential for Internet growth. "We see growth opportunities in Indonesia from its population size and the consumption of media there," he added.

Its Indonesian office had already been in the country for a year, but moved into Block71 Jakarta when the opportunity arose.

"Knowing that our Indonesia team would be situated remotely from our headquarters, we chose to locate at Block71 Jakarta as we knew it would be a vibrant working space," said Mr Ho.

Meanwhile, the Indonesian start-ups at Block71 Jakarta include 8villages, a social enterprise that provides rural farmers with a mobile information platform to communicate and do business, as well as HelloBill, which provides small businesses with a cloud-based point-of-sales system.

Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade) Lim Hng Kiang, who attended the launch ceremony in Jakarta, said in a statement: "Block71 Jakarta will be a launchpad for Singapore entrepreneurs and innovators to build ties with the Indonesian start-up community and explore opportunities to work together.

"This is an example of what we hope to achieve with a network of partners to build a Global Innovation Alliance, which was a recommendation by the Singapore Committee on the Future Economy earlier this year."

Mr Lim added that as 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties, "we hope Block71 Jakarta will foster a healthy two-way exchange of ideas, innovation and expertise between Singapore and Indonesia".

Block71 Jakarta follows a 2015 spin-off in San Francisco, with NUS Enterprise planning to next break into China with a unit in Suzhou.

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