About the Innovation and Startup Desk in Singapore

Intro about the Desk, its mission and activities

Innovation desk in general is an initiative by ICE aka Italian trade agency for assisting the highly innovative Italian startups in expanding its business in domestic and offshore markets.

The placement of the innovation desks is in accordance with the importance of the cities and its close vicinity to the foreign investors for attracting investments towards the Italian startups. Apart from attracting investments; the innovation desks are involved in other innovative activities towards attracting Italian investment in the host countries for most happening initiatives by the country’s respective governments.


With the challenging economic environment around the world, we are seeing Singapore focusing on these 5 industries.

1) Innovation

With the challenging economic environment, The Standards, Productivity and Innovation Board (SPRING) Singapore has partnered with several organisations to encourage innovation among SMEs. SPRING SEEDS Capital Pte Ltd (SSC), is the investment arm of SPRING Singapore, manages the SPRING Start-up Enterprise Development Scheme (SPRING SEEDS), an equity-based co-financing option for Singapore-based start-ups with innovative products and/or processes with intellectual content and strong growth potential across international markets.

Singapore has been attracting local and foreign companies to establish and develop their innovation. Local bank, United Overseas Bank (UOB) is setting up an accelerator, The FinLab, to spur innovation in financial technology (fintech) while consulting firm McKinsey & Company launched a digital campus in Singapore on 22nd October 2015 to help companies stay competitive via digital strategy and technology, advanced data and analytics, and rapid prototyping which will tap on the knowledge of more than 850 digital experts from 30 countries.

2) FinTech Hub

Singapore hosting a large ecosystem of banks and technology companies is well poised to build the FinTech sector. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) today announced the formation of a new FinTech & Innovation Group (FTIG) within its organisation structure with effect from 1 August 2015. FTIG will be responsible for regulatory policies and development strategies to facilitate the use of technology and innovation to better manage risks, enhance efficiency, and strengthen competitiveness in the financial sector.

3) Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology

Singapore’s integrated research ecosystem enables companies to access multidisciplinary capabilities in a single location, which improves R&D decision-making and accelerates drug discovery and development. More than 30 of the world’s leading biomedical sciences companies (including GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and Takeda) are leveraging Singapore as a key home base to drive innovation. New therapies and technologies are constantly made available by clinical research engaged by our hospitals and national speciality centres, in collaboration with some of the world’s top medical institutes, pharmaceutical and medical technology firms. In addition, important leads to new therapies that benefit patients are being discovered through world-class scientific research fostered by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and its biomedical research institutes.

4) Logistics & Supply Chain Management

The World Bank ranked Singapore as the No. 1 Logistics Hub in Asia in the 2014 Logistics Performance Index. Singapore’s strategic location in the heart of Southeast Asia and at the nexus of major shipping lanes has made it an important logistics hub and conduit for world trade.

Today, Singapore is a prime location for major logistics firms, with 20 of the top 25 global logistics players conducting operations here. Most of them, like DHL, Kuehne + Nagel, and UPS, have set up regional or global headquarter functions in Singapore. Two broader industry trends suggest that many of the global transport and logistics leaders of the future will come from Asia. First is the long-term shift in trade and investment from the West to the East, which will provide ever more opportunities for growth in the region across all segments. There will be further consolidation in the sector, as firms grow to reap scale efficiencies and improve their cross-border capabilities. Second is Asia’s early advantage in low-cost competition and “frugal engineering” (a product design approach that emphasises using the bare minimum of resources to create basic, no-frills products).

5) Digital Media

Singapore's animation and games industries are seeing rapid expansion with an influx of leading digital media companies such as Tecmo-Koei, Lucasfilm, Double Negative, Electronic Arts and Ubisoft. Local companies likeRatloop Asia, Sparky Animation and Scrawl Studios have also responded eagerly too, producing original content for export and entering strategic partnerships with international distributors. The Interactive & Digital Media Program Office (IDMPO) under the National Research Foundation of the Prime Minister’s Office Singapore has established an R&D programme with funding initiatives for the three R&D focus areas of Animation, Games & Effects, Media Intermediary ("Mediary") Services, and "On-the-Move" Technologies to support individuals and start-ups with breakthrough ideas that can be developed into innovative products and services.

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