Singapore Budget 2019: More funding and chances for people to work and learn overseas

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat cited the example of local seafood supplier Oceanus Group, which sent interns from Republic Polytechnic to its Chinese arm to work in a range of jobs. PHOTO: COURTESY OF OCEANUS GROUP/MINISTRY OF FINANCE

SINGAPORE - More will be done to prepare and develop people to seize opportunities to make full use of Singapore's position as a regional and global hotbed for research, innovation and enterprise, said Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat on Monday (Feb 18).

And Singapore will continue to build global partnerships, so that local firms and people can forge new areas of collaboration with the international innovation community, he added.

"We are partnering firms to invest in our people, including young Singaporeans, to provide them with opportunities to gain working experience abroad," said Mr Heng.

He said the current local and overseas internship programmes will also be combined into a single Global Ready Talent Programme (GRTP). This programme will have more funding for students at institutes of higher learning who plan to intern overseas with Singaporean firms.

The GRTP will also support high-growth Singapore firms, to send Singaporeans with up to three years of working experience for postings in markets such as South-east Asia, China and India.

"By giving young Singaporeans overseas exposure, they can develop new skills to better support our firms' overseas expansion," Mr Heng said, citing the example of local seafood supplier Oceanus Group, which sent interns from Republic Polytechnic to its Chinese arm to work in a range of jobs.

One of its interns, Ms Bernice Chan, is now a management trainee at Oceanus' farm in Fotan, China, Mr Heng said.

More will be done as well to build global partnerships, and to bring the global innovation community together in Singapore to collaborate on projects.

This year, the Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology (Switch) and the Singapore FinTech Festival will be held in the same week in mid-November.

Last year's FinTech Festival - which had more than 500 exhibitors, 250 speakers and 45,000 delegates from more than 125 countries - saw investors interested in investing up to US$12 billion in Asean enterprises in fintech, info-communications technology, and medtech over the next three years.

Last year's Switch brought together more than 350 exhibitors and 1,000 start-ups and financiers from 75 countries.

Combining the events, Mr Heng said, is expected to draw even more entrepreneurs, investors and innovators from around the world to explore partnership opportunities, and to collaborate in technological innovation in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Mr Heng also gave an update on the progress of the Global Innovation Alliance, which has established nine connections with global start-up hot spots including Bangkok, Beijing, Berlin, Jakarta and San Francisco, to give entrepreneurs and students chances to learn and build networks globally.

Read Mr Heng's full speech.

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