Singapore should seize opportunities to plug itself into innovation networks: Chan Chun Sing

Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing met Austrian Federal Minister for Digital and Economic Affairs, Dr Margarete Schramböck, during his three-day visit to Brussels, on July 11, 2018.PHOTO: MINISTRY OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY

PARIS - With the pace of technological development intensifying, Singapore should seize opportunities to plug itself into innovation networks around the world, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said on Thursday (July 12).

Speaking to the media at the end of a visit to Station F in Paris, the world's largest start-up campus, he said doing so would help further Singapore's cause to create better jobs for its people and more opportunities for its businesses.

His visit to Station F, which took place on the last of his three-day visit to Brussels and Paris, had given him some food for thought on how Singapore can tackle certain challenges that it faces in its innovation ecosystem, he added.

"The French system has some interesting ideas we can look at, like how they facilitate even technopreneurs that are not from France to come to work in France and use the French network in the entire global system to develop new products," he said.

Mr Chan added that French government officials are placed at Station F itself.

While they started out playing supportive roles, they have since moved on to developing the new rules and regulations needed for such businesses, becoming a key part of the start-up system, he said.

This is an idea that can be explored in Singapore, to bring innovation and regulation closer together, he added.


"You can't use old rules to regulate new business models. So the question is how do you build this culture across public service - how do you innovate regulation so that it becomes your advantage?"

While at Station F, Mr Chan also witnessed the signing of three agreements between Singaporean and French partners that aim to support start-ups from both countries to expand their business into each other's markets and deepen ties.

These deals are just one part of Singapore's effort to build a Global Innovation Alliance, he said.

"If you look at the way many new start-ups penetrate new markets and access ideas, it is really a global operation," he said.

"Many of these things we don't have in Singapore, so we have to make sure we have links around the world, in Paris, Silicon Valley, China or Tel Aviv to allow our start-ups to have the same access to opportunities."