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Singapore startups to gain faster access to India's startup ecosystem

SINGAPORE startups can now gain faster access to India's bustling startup ecosystem to form partnerships and co-innovate with Indian startups, with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Enterprise Singapore and The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) Singapore, one of the largest global entrepreneurship organisations on Wednesday.

Signed ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Singapore, the MOU kickstarts a Singapore-India incubation programme which aims to foster collaboration between Singapore and Indian startups through jointly-organised networking events, workshops and sessions with in-market mentors.

As a start, TiE Singapore will be running a startup mission in July with 10 Singapore startups to meet with Indian startups, corporates, mentors and investors to partner and co-innovate solutions in fintech, e-services and deeptech.

With a network of 11,000 members globally, India constitutes one-third of TiE Singapore's global membership.

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Tan Soon Kim, assistant chief executive officer of Enterprise Singapore, said: "The Singapore-India Incubation Programme aims to introduce ideas and concepts between the ecosystems of both countries and foster collaboration between companies in each other's markets and in South-east Asia. Over time, we aim to establish a series of key innovation nodes within India to form an innovation network for Singapore companies to tap on."

Enterprise Singapore will also be signing an MOU with the National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC) India on Thursday, to be witnessed by Mr Modi and Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations and Minister for Communications S Iswaran.

The MOU will facilitate the entry of Singapore vocational training companies into India to support the skills needs of the beauty and wellness, F&B, and construction and facilities management sectors.

Singapore vocational training companies will be able to tap several of NSDC's financing schemes, such as soft loan for equipment and equity injection for joint-venture projects with Indian training companies.

India has the third-largest startup ecosystem in the world, with over 4,750 startups. Its key focus areas include e-commerce, fintech, healthtech and edutech. In 2017, the value of startup funding amounted to approximately US$13.7 billion, up from US$4.06 billion in 2016.

Singapore startups which have successfully established in India include ViSenze, an artificial intelligence-based visual search and image recognition solutions provider. Their partnership with Indian fashion e-retailer Myntra has supported over six million Myntra users to navigate their store via image recognition.

For local e-commerce platform Shopmatic, India accounted for 75 per cent of their global business in 2017.

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