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Singapore startups get access to India tech ecosystem with Global Innovation Alliance

SINGAPORE'S technology startups can now get access to India's growing innovation ecosystem through the Global Innovation Alliance (GIA) network, which has expanded into Bangalore.

GIA, a joint initiative between Enterprise Singapore and the Economic Development Board, is a network of Singapore and overseas partners in 12 cities to drive innovation.

Announcing the launch in Bangalore, Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations S Iswaran said: "We hope that this will not only pave the way for more partnerships between enterprises from both countries, but also drive the growth of our startup ecosystems to benefit both our economies.”

Mr Iswaran also witnessed the signing of four memoranda of understanding (MOUs), three of which involve business partnerships Enterprise Singapore has with Indian platforms.

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One of them is with international speed scaling platform Anthill Ventures, which will facilitate the entry of Singapore-based startups into the Indian market through Bangalore. A programme, which begins in November, will include a three-day boot camp in Singapore and a two-week immersion programme in Bangalore where participants will meet Indian enterprises and participate in field trips.

Another partnership is with The Indus Entrepreneurs Global, a startup network founded in Silicon Valley, to connect Singapore startups to mentors and venture capitalists in the Indian startup scene.

Enterprise Singapore's third MOU is with YourStory, India’s mediatech platform for startups and entrepreneurs, to strengthen mindshare between the startup communities of both countries and highlight collaboration opportunities.

The fourth MOU is between Anthill Ventures and CapitaLand's coworking space BRIDGE+ to provide a conducive environment for tech startups and companies to collaborate. The launch pad in CapitaLand's International Tech Park Bangalore is also where the GIA Acceleration Programme will be conducted.

Tan Soon Kim, assistant chief executive officer of Enterprise Singapore, told The Business Times that Bangalore was chosen as the launch city because of its high concentration of startup players, as the "Silicon Valley of India".

He added that the GIA has a bilateral element, as they also want to encourage Indian startups to come to Singapore, so that they can tap Singapore's rich ecosystem and branch out into South-east Asia.

"So there will be two gigantic markets, one which is 1.3 billion strong, and another one is 650 million strong. Collectively it's probably close to two billion. So once we can link both markets up, it's a huge market size and all within flying radius of four to five hours," Mr Tan said.

While in Bangalore, Mr Iswaran and a Singapore business delegation will meet startup ecosystem players to discuss potential collaboration.

India is a significant trading partner of Singapore, with total bilateral trade amounting to S$26.4 billion in 2018. Singapore’s investments in India have also grown exponentially in the past decade with Singapore becoming India’s largest investor in FY2018.

In addition to India, GIA also operates in Thailand, China, Germany, Indonesia, France, Japan, the US and Vietnam.