Singaporeans should be proud of Grab takeover

Singapore has always marketed itself as a vibrant start-up ecosystem, an incubator for aspiring entrepreneurs to turn their next big idea into billion-dollar ventures, and a connecting door for young tech companies to reach out to the rest of South-east Asia.

Despite these efforts, how often do we hear of successful start-ups coming out of Singapore?

Grab acquiring Uber is finally changing this narrative (Uber set to announce sale of S-E Asia business to Grab; March 26).

Uber has a much bigger war chest than Grab and is better known internationally.

While the acquisition means that consumers will no longer have the luxury of promotional codes, Singaporeans and the Government should be very proud that a local tech firm has finally managed to beat an international giant.

After all, there is no credibility in positioning a country as the Silicon Valley of South-east Asia without true success stories.

This would also spur the local tech start-up community.

As Grab becomes the poster child for Singapore entrepreneurship, it has an even greater responsibility to contribute to the local tech start-up scene.

This should include helping to develop Singapore's tech workforce, offering mentorship and financial support to the start-up community and enabling local start-ups to scale up its platform to reach more consumers.

Singapore is a nation that depends on human capital, and it is critical that tech companies here help to retain the best talent to avoid talent leakage.

I hope Grab does not disappoint, and will continue to stay innovative and agile, and act responsibly.

The nation is watching and this is just the beginning.

Winnie Leong (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 04, 2018, with the headline 'S'poreans should be proud of Grab takeover'. Print Edition | Subscribe