SINGAPORE has won the bid to host the MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Programme (Reap), making it one of only two "regions" in its cohort (the other being London) and the first Asian country to showcase its innovation ecosystem to the MIT faculty and global innovators.
Together with seven other regions in the second cohort of Reap - London, Morocco, Moscow, Puerto Rico, Seoul, Qatar and Valencia - the Republic will engage the MIT faculty in designing actionable strategies to boost innovation-driven entrepreneurship here.
President Tony Tan Keng Yam, who graced the MIT Global Innovation Gala Dinner held on Tuesday at the Istana, said: "Singapore's efforts in developing an innovation-based entrepreneurial ecosystem complement our Smart Nation initiative . . . (which) will enhance our competitiveness and generate new economic opportunities."
The number of startups with one or more employees, for instance, had doubled from 24,000 in 2005 to 55,000 in 2014, Dr Tony Tan told the audience, which comprised faculty members from the Martin Trust Centre for MIT Entrepreneurship and MIT Sloan Executive Education in Boston, as well as over 100 innovators from the seven participating regions.
Reap, now in its third year, enables influential members who represent the region's five major stakeholder groups - government, risk capital, academia, entrepreneurs and industry - to engage the MIT faculty via workshops over a two-year period.
Team Singapore is led by Steve Leonard, executive deputy chairman of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, and comprised of Alex Lin, head of Infocomm Investments; Ong Peng Tsin, partner of Monk's Hill Ventures; Jeffrey Paine, general partner of Golden Gate Ventures; Wong Meng Weng, co-founder of Joyful Frog Digital Incubator; Lily Chan, chief executive of NUS Enterprise; Edgar Hardless, chief executive of SingTel Innov8; and Teo Lay Lim, senior managing director for Asean at Accenture.