State Sponsored Entrepreneurship [Listening Anyone?]

A couple of weeks back we covered on how Department of Science & Technology is trying to firm up a platform for Technology startups (ICT) in Delhi / India. At the end of the post we also recommended a look at some international gov-sponsored ecosystems nearby that could lend relevancy to the design & execution of such an initiative in India. We also highlighted a need to bring in funding aspects for the Indian entrepreneurs from the Government and subsidization of living costs of such high-risk-taking individuals.

Here let us look at an example – of Singapore – and its entrepreneurship model that has benefited a plethora of tech startups and entrepreneurs both within & outside of the country. Also a glance at their performance indicators will help us prepare a better underlay for our own ecosystem i.e. State Sponsored Entrepreneurship in India. Government initiatives like these will not only nurture talent & competitiveness along with stability, funding & access to market but also lead to breakthrough innovations & wealth creation for the country sponsoring it.

The Agency

SPRING is the enterprise development agency to grow innovative companies and to foster a competitive SME sector in Singapore. They work with partners (i.e. Angels & Investors) to help small & medium enterprise secure finance, capabilities, management skills and most importantly access to markets for sales & promotion. They also act as the national standards and accreditation body, which develops and promotes internationally-recognized standards and quality assurance to enhance competitiveness and facilitate trade.

Level of Support:

From money point-of-view, SPRING (Singapore) shells out an equal sum that one startup raises from a private investor or a capitalist. Thereby sharing an equal risk as that of a private angel who undertakes a technology startup. This concept seems a must-do for Indian landscape too, as it not only encourages the startups to bank on the Government more but also it ensures a process-validation of business ideas before disbursement by way of successfully raising money from a competent privately owned angels/VC.

SPRING also provides tax incentives to the corresponding angel investors who go out and undertake the risks of startups, thus keeping the bargain neutralized between Startups & VCs. This model also ensures transparency w.r.t declaration of assets, taxable monetary figures etc. early on from the venturing businesses and allows Government to focus on the relevant stuff such as budgeting for SMEs etc.

The lends from SPRING were in the range of SGD 990 million spread across 2585 SME projects in the year 2008.

Ease of Access:

To access SPRING for sponsorship, follow a step-by-step process and reach the young entrepreneurs program that fits your business case. As simple as that! A similar or even simpler model is required by you – DST –  if we wanna build and help technology startups in a competitive way. For promising overseas entrepreneurs, Singapore also promotes – Entrepass – by way of providing work permit to bring talent into their country.

Involvement of Academia & Business Incubators

Govt. of Singapore relies heavily on Universities, B-Schools and incubators in Singapore to promote entrepreneurship. For example, to understand what Budget 2010 is all about for entrepreneurs the Finance Ministry led by Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam is organizing a workshop on 31st March, 2010 at National University of Singapore (TBS). Two speakers from IRAS (Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore) will take everyone one through the processes of new Government schemes that startups can leverage on i.e the schemes that can benefit startups in Budget 2010 and their tax liabilities.

Earlier this year (2010) the National Research Foundation of Singapore announced a list of 7 approved incubators (selected out of 32) under its new Technology Incubation Scheme. A good number of international B-Schools including The Founder Institute too have mushroomed all over doing their own bit for entrepreneurship. Mentoring is vastly considered a major emphasis area by the Government and a host of Valley based entrepreneurs are attracted to guide local startups in Singapore.

The Performance Indicators:

The small and medium enterprises (SMEs) today constitute 99% of all enterprises in Singapore . The balance 1% industry is composed of big enterprises such MNC banks, Petrochemicals manufacturing, Oil & Gas hubs and so on. Six out of every 10 workers in Singapore is employed by a SME, and they together contribute to almost half of the national GDP.

You can also research on SPRING’s performance through these annual reports and see how their ecosystem has been built over the years. One look at the contribution from various stakeholders of the ecosystem will convince us on minimum desired quality and effort required from Government and others in the Indian landscape.

So Pi readers, what else do we (particularly the entrepreneurs) require?

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