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Two new programmes for Singapore entrepreneurs and startups unveiled

TWO new programmes to support entrepreneurs and startups in Singapore were unveiled on Tuesday by the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Vivian Balakrishnan.

The first, Modern Ageing, is a four-month programme that will bring together students, researchers and health professionals from various disciplines to create businesses for ageing.

Co-organised by NUS Enterprise (the enterprise arm of the National University of Singapore) and ACCESS Health International (a non-profit think-tank focused on healthcare), Modern Ageing is supported by Duke NUS and the Ministry of Health.

Participants will - through a blended curriculum of online presentations, workshops and mentoring sessions - learn about the challenges and needs of an ageing population both in Singapore and globally, develop ideas and translate these into viable business plans.

They will present their ideas at a final pitching session, and stand to win S$50,000 in seed funding, incubation support and access to technologies and partners.

Modern Ageing will commence in August this year, and is expected to be held annually and expand to the rest of Asia.

Singapore's ageing population presents many opportunities for the community to provide innovative solutions to active ageing, aged care and caregiving in both Singapore and globally, which ultimately speak to the country's Smart Nation ambitions, said Dr Balakrishnan, also the Minister-In-Charge of Smart Nation.

The number of seniors aged 65 years and above will almost triple from 365,000 in 2010 to over 900,000 in 2030, BT has learnt.

The second programme, known as NEAT IP (NUS Easy Access to Technologies for Industry Partners), aims to connect startups to technologies - which they often find difficult to access - to enhance their business and productivity.

Since 2015, several startups have benefited from NEAT IP, among them Sypher Labs, which had licensed a geo-tracking technology from NUS and developed it into a new service to help fleet operators manage their fleets.

Dr Balakrishnan was speaking at InnovFest UnBound 2015, a two-day innovation festival presented by NUS Enterprise and AcreWhite.