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IgniteAsia Challenge, Singapore

Dr Kaizad Heerjee, Assistant Chief Executive, Online Development, IDA Singapore - Address Launch of IgniteAsia Challenge, Grand Hyatt Hotel

Dr Kaizad Heerjee, Assistant Chief Executive, Online Development, IDA Singapore - Address
Launch of IgniteAsia Challenge, Grand Hyatt Hotel

Singapore, 4 September 2000

Ladies and Gentlemen.

A very warm welcome to everyone to the launch of "IgniteAsia Challenge, Singapore".

As you might be aware, this competition is being held in 2 geographical centers. One in Hong Kong encompassing the North Asian region and the other in Singapore covering the greater Asian region.

The competition serves to encourage innovative Internet business ideas, creativity, technopreneurship and also to look out for the talent that may not have surfaced just as yet. Therefore we look at this opportunity as a platform to match investors seeking quality investment with technopreneurs who possess strong growth potential. It is also a chance for promising startups to present their business models to professional service providers and management professionals who can support them in taking their enterprises to higher levels of development and progress in this region.

There are other business plan competitions held in Singapore such as 'Startup@Singapore' and 'TechVenture Asia' that are similar to IgniteAsia Challenge but that have slightly different focus. 'Startup@Singapore' is organised by local tertiary institutions targeted at technopreneurs for the tertiary students and alumni in Singapore. 'TechVenture Asia' targets startups in the broadbased science and technology categories world wide including Life Sciences. The 'IgniteAsia Challenge' targets pre-IPO INTERNET businesses in their various stages of funding. It is a competition that is open to the general public, individual companies and students at colleges/universities around the Asia-Pacific region.

IDA's goal is to facilitate the development of our infocomm industry and move Singapore into the ranks of the first world economies of the net age. Hence we would like to foster the growth of Internet startups and dot coms, as they pave the way businesses are conducted in this new economy. In the month of June alone, it was reported by eInfoAsia that approximately 230 startups were formed and registered in Singapore. That is a good sign but at the same time we also need to ensure that these startups have sound business models and possess good potential for growth.

Currently the e-commerce scene in Singapore is very vibrant and it is indeed a thriving place for infocomm businesses with robust business models. Singapore is already one of the most e-commerce ready countries in the world. The World Competitiveness Yearbook 2000 ranked Singapore as the top in Asia for e-commerce infrastructure. We are also among the top 3 Asian countries in terms of Internet penetration.

According to the latest World Economic Forum (WEF) report, Singapore is fourth in the world for ease of starting new businesses and second for providing the fewest barriers to new businesses.

The outlook of VCs here in Singapore is also very promising, with over $10 billion in venture capital managed out of Singapore. More VC's are coming to tap the huge pool of talents in the region.

The government is actively implementing various programs and incentives to position Singapore as a trusted global hub in the Internet economy. Recognising human capital, knowledge, skills and ideas as key drivers in the new online economy, IDA has started working on industry-networking sessions to enable dotcom tecnopreneurs to interact and share experiences to further their businesses. As such IDA hopes to create a vibrant infocomm community and develop a new class of entrepreneurs in Singapore. Thus we have tied up with the IgniteAsia Challenge, which is another initiative to encourage high quality Internet business ideas, innovation and novelty in the region.

I would also like to bring to your attention, the introduction of a special prize for the broadband category to spot the next generation broadband killer applications and services in Asia. This exclusive broadband category is created by IDA, for IgniteAsia Singapore with the aim to encourage and give recognition to both local and regional creative companies and individuals to develop broadband multimedia content in Singapore.

The best broadband entry in Asia will be presented with a suite of attractive offerings. This will include the chance to have their content or application hosted on Singapore ONE for a minimum period of six months. In addition the winning broadband category will get to participate in joint marketing and promotional activities, which will include opportunities to meet with potential local and international partners and investors.

Thus we welcome people with spurring and compelling business ideas to come forward and make Singapore as their launch pad for business activities to gain access into the Asian market.

With our host of Infocomm services and well-developed broadband infrastructure, Singapore has all the key requisites for the development of successful Internet businesses, thus making it an evident choice for the base of e-commerce activities in the region. Hence I would urge you to exploit the excellent infrastructure and services that you need for the success of your businesses.

So we encourage you to seize the opportunity in this fast paced new economy and make your e-dreams a reality.

Thank you.