Singapore to Foster Technopreneurship –

SINGAPORE – As part of a plan to encourage what it calls “technopreneurship,” the government of Singapore has launched a $1 billion venture fund to shift the city-state to an “advanced knowledge economy” from a manufacturing economy, said Deputy Prime Minister Tony Tan Keng Yam.

Minister Tan in April announced the Technopreneurship Fund, which aims to attract more venture capital activity to Singapore by targeting VCs, lawyers, analysts and investment bankers domestically and from other countries. Singapore already has more than a dozen VC-related firms.

Beefing up Singapore’s entrepreneurial activity would require an adjustment in cultural thinking so that citizens can accept failure as “a learning process,” Minister Tan said. The government also will improve research facilities and upgrade curricula and teaching practices at technical universities, he added.

Singapore also wants to attract outside entrepreneurs, especially innovators from other Asian countries.

Minister Tan, also Singapore’s defense minister, reasoned that his nation offers an attractive environment to entrepreneurs who are willing to relocate – a stable government, high living standards and good schools.

Singapore also is reviewing government regulations to encourage entrepreneurs to start technology businesses there. A “private sector committee” is slated to make a first set of recommendations by the third quarter.

Hambrecht & Quist Asia Pacific Ta-Lin Hsu questioned the wisdom of the government venture fund, saying the nation already has too few investment opportunities to match available capital. Mr. Hsu suggested that the government instead provide an infrastructure and regulatory, environment that would encourage VCs and entrepreneurs.