Overseas internships to groom future innovators

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat at the opening of the Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology yesterday. He announced a new programme to send Singapore students abroad for internships at companies or start-ups that undertake entrepreneurship and
Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat at the opening of the Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology yesterday. He announced a new programme to send Singapore students abroad for internships at companies or start-ups that undertake entrepreneurship and innovation.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

To groom future innovators with a global view, a programme has been launched to send Singapore students abroad for internships at companies or start-ups that undertake entrepreneurship and innovation.

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced this at the opening of Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology (Switch) yesterday. He said the Global Innovation Alliance Innovators Academy, which was launched by the Economic Development Board, is one of several new initiatives being rolled out to get innovators to develop their tech capabilities and collaborate with others globally.

The academy will facilitate overseas internships in 17 cities for more than 1,300 students from the autonomous universities over the next few years. It will enhance the schools' existing overseas programmes with funding and networks.

Mr Heng said: "By exposing Singapore students to a diverse range of innovation ecosystems abroad, the Innovators Academy hopes to groom future innovators and business leaders with a global perspective."

Separately, the National Research Foundation (NRF) has developed the National Quantum Engineering Programme to grow Singapore's quantum engineering sector.

  • Portal for tech start-ups launched

  • Singapore's first national portal for tech start-ups is among the initiatives being rolled out to help innovators here connect with the world.

    Enterprise Singapore said it developed the Startup SG Network to make it easier for people globally to search for and connect with Singapore's entrepreneurs.

    The database went live yesterday. At around 1pm, more than 2,600 companies had already signed up.

    They hailed from over 30 technology sectors, such as agrifood technology, medical technology and urban solutions.

    On the portal, the start-ups can set up profiles and form potential partnerships with investors and incubators.

    Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, who announced the launch yesterday, said: "By aggregating profiles and resources on a single platform, the Startup SG Network enables Singapore's startups to find and make connections within our ecosystem, and to put them on the radars of global players, expanding their opportunities for growth."

    While the platform currently operates by allowing searches of company listings, more interactive features will be introduced in future. This would include the use of artificial intelligence and chatbots, allowing for the matching of companies and investors.

    Sue-Ann Tan

The $25 million programme, which aims to translate quantum science into industry-ready solutions, will be set up and hosted at the National University of Singapore.

It will conduct research in areas such as quantum cryptography, to safeguard against cyber-security threats, advanced manufacturing capability as well as enhanced imaging and sensing technology.

Mr Heng said Switch, Asia's flagship tech and innovation gathering, provides opportunity for the exchange of ideas and innovation across sectors and countries. The event is organised by the NRF and Enterprise Singapore.

It features exhibitions and activities along themes such as technology, entrepreneurship, venture funding and tech in lifestyle.

Mr Heng said: "We are happy to catalyse this convergence of minds from many backgrounds and communities. There is a global consensus that technology and innovation can improve the lives of people around the world.

"But these needs of different communities are complex and diverse. We believe that by assembling a wide range of perspectives and expertise, we can understand these needs better and create solutions for them."

The third iteration of Switch will run until Thursday at Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre and is expected to attract more than 10,000 visitors.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 18, 2018, with the headline 'Overseas internships to groom future innovators'. Print Edition | Subscribe