Dr Kaizad Heerjee, Assistant Chief Executive, Online Development, IDA Singapore - Keynote Address Launch of eBiz.Connect Networking Session, Pan Pacific Hotel

Dr Kaizad Heerjee, Assistant Chief Executive, Online Development, IDA Singapore - Keynote Address
Launch of eBiz.Connect Networking Session, Pan Pacific Hotel
Singapore, 14 June 2000


1. I am very glad to be here at the first eBiz.Connect event co-organised by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCCI).

2. One of IDA's thrust is to create a vibrant startup community in Singapore. We hope that through this event, it will provide an excellent platform for startups to exchange ideas with market players and professionals and to form strategic alliances. We are pleased to have strong support from the various industry players, such as the venture capitalists, angels, investors, technopreneurs, businessmen and technology providers amongst our presence tonight.

Series of networking events

3. Currently, there are several networking events organised by various industry players and we see this as a good initiative driven by the industry as this will not only create a "buzz" for the local e-commerce scene but at the same time increases e-commerce activities in the Asia-Pacific region. We recognise that that there is a need for such networking sessions and this is just the start of a series of networking events driven by IDA.

4. For future networking events, we are looking at smaller and more focussed group sessions. We will also feature themes or focus on issues that are of concern to startups, such as IPOs, or legal issues.

E-commerce scene in Singapore

5. With globalisation and the advent of e-commerce, foreign and local companies have very rapidly expanded its business processes by going online and tapping on e-commerce capabilities. This has contributed to a vibrant e-commerce scene in Singapore.

6. According to eInfoAsia, in the month of April 2000 alone, 200 more startups were formed and registered in Singapore. This shows that many people are tapping on the new eBusiness opportunities.

7. The local e-commerce potential is certainly looking good. Many U.S. base companies have expanded many aspects of its operations in Singapore and making it as its headquarters in Asia-Pacific.

8. According to the GartnerGroup, 'E-commerce will thrive in Asia-Pacific, growing to US$ 1 trillion by 2004. This is an increase, compared to US $ 30 billion at the end of 2000. About 95% of the US $ 1 trillion will be from B2B, with the remaining 5% comprised of B2C transactions.

9. Singapore has one of the best infrastructure to support the growth of E-commerce in the region. The Economist group ranked Singapore first amongst 13 Asian countries in terms of e-Business readiness. The World Competitiveness Report in 1999 placed us amongst the top three Asian countries in Internet penetration. We are also 4th amongst 13 Asian countries in the use of e-commerce for business, according to the Global Competitive Survey in 1999.

Programmes to encourage e-commerce in Singapore

10. To further encourage the adoption of e-commerce in Singapore, various government agencies have implemented numerous programmes and incentives to help the local enterprises ride on this e-commerce wave.


11. To begin with, IDA has a $ 9 Million fund, call the Local Enterprise Electronic Commerce Programme, LECP (EC), to jumpstart the mass adoption of e-commerce among local enterprises in Singapore.

12. Another programme called the Local Enterprise Computerisation Programme or LECP, aims to encourage small and medium enterprises achieve a higher level of competitiveness through a more effective use of Information Technology


13. The NSTB has also proactively spurred the growth of startups in Singapore.

14. NSTB started the Technopreneurship Investment Incentive Scheme (TII) in Sept 1999. This scheme aims to ease the difficulty faced by high-tech startups in obtaining capital investments in their initial phase of growth by providing investors of qualifying startups with a loss insurance for their investments into these startups.

15. The Technopreneur Home Office (THO) scheme is one of the first set of regulation change. This change allows technology entrepreneurs to register and use their residential premises as home offices. Since then, more startups are formed as this scheme allows a low cost of entry to business.

16. They have also set up the Venture Investment Support for Start-ups (VISS) --a S$50million fund aimed at early-stage direct co-investments into promising and strategic companies that are based or linked to Singapore. VISS plays a developmental role in nurturing startups by focusing on deals that are at the early stages.


17. EDB's investment arm, EDB Investments Pte Ltd manages 2 venture capital funds, which were set up in the early 1990s, to promote direct investments from overseas high-tech companies to Singapore and to assist local companies to acquire or diversify into new technology industries

18. Companies with innovative products may tap on EDB's Innovation Development Scheme (IDS). This scheme serves to encourage development of capabilities in the innovation of products, applications and services. The grant covers costs such as manpower-related expenses, materials and equipment costs, professional services and IPR expenses.


19. The Productivity and Standards Board (PSB) has a local enterprise technical assistance scheme (LETAS), which serves to assist companies in modernising and upgrading their operations through the engagement of an external expert for a limited period of time.

VCs in Singapore

20. The outlook of the VC industry here is promising. More VCs are coming to tap the huge pool of talents in the region. VCs bring with them, not only financial capability, but also management expertise and business network.

21. The $1 Billion Technopreneurship Investment Fund (TIF) launched by NSTB a year ago has greatly increased the presence of VCs in Singapore.

22. To date, NSTB has invested in 24 funds and committed about US $ 500m from TIF. Through their investments, they have participated in funds, spanning the entire spectrum of VC activities, ranging from the top tier VCs of the world, to local startup VCs, and corporate funds.


23. On this note, I strongly encourage you to look into the opportunities of leveraging on all these schemes and programmes available and turn all your startup dreams into reality.

24. Thank you and have an enjoyable evening