5 start-up hubs to watch and it’s not Silicon Valley: World Economic Forum

Silicon Valley World Economic Forum

COVID-19 has upended the world and created an era uncertainty. Amidst this uncertainty, start-ups has an increasingly important role to play by bringing to market innovative solutions for tackling the challenges and mitigating the negative impacts caused by the pandemic, a World Economic Forum report says.

According to the report, such solutions are not coming from Silicon Valley or London. They are coming from countries with strong start-up ecosystems and unique values and cultures.

These are the 5 countries identified by WEF as innovation hotspots. They are: Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Brazil, Kenya and Israel.

Singapore tops World Economic Forum’s latest Global Competitiveness Report

Strong local connectedness. A high-quality of talent coming from competitive institutions. These are 2 factors contributing to Singapore’s competitiveness.

But driving Singapore’s competitiveness is the government at the centre implementing various start-up-friendly policies to lure start-ups and talent into Singapore.

One example is the Startup SG launched in 2017 to unify various aspects of governmental support schemes for ecosystem stakeholders including start-up founders, investors, incubators and accelerators.

In 2018, Startup SG Network was launched to bring Singapore’s tech startup ecosystem even closer together and encourage the proliferation of innovative and collaborative partnerships. The platform allows local tech startups to profile and put themselves on the radars of both local and global ecosystem players, expanding their opportunities for growth.

The report attributes a large part of the success of Singapore’s fintech sector to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) which provides various kinds of support – including a regulatory sandbox and an API exchange platform to enable live experiments, as well as rapid design and deployment of potential solutions.

Michele Ferrario of StashAway, which is developing a digital wealth management platform aimed at building long-term wealth, says that Singapore provides a great platform to start and scale services for the more than 600 million people living in South East Asia.

“Singapore is a unique place as, at the same time, it provides access to the very fast growing markets of South East Asia while offering the benefits of a global financial centre,” he says. “Having started in Singapore, StashAway benefited from access to local and foreign talent as well as capital, and from the supervision of a very respected and forward-looking regulator.”

The support for fintech is part of the government’s broader support for the overall start-up ecosystem, including enhanced support measures amidst the COVID-19 crisis.

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Heng Swee Keat

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