Singapore: How The Silicon Valley Of Asia Is Driving Technological Innovation

Recently, Singapore has launched itself into the global marketplace for technological innovation by providing companies abroad with a consistent source of talent from its best national universities. Popular emerging markets in the form of ecommerce, financial tech, and the generic sharing economy are making headway in the country. Further, the Singaporean government possesses its own sovereign wealth funds like Temasek Holdings which it uses to invest in a number of different companies and industries that it feels will occupy a significant place in its future, and technology is one of those spaces.

Government backed programs and initiatives such as those made by NUS Enterprises represent critical attempts to incubate and foster the growth of talent in entrepreneurship and in the emerging tech space. They offer physical spaces like Blk71 and up to $50,000 in individual grants to support and finance the companies of budding entrepreneurs. The story behind areas such as Blk71 show how Singapore uses past industrial spaces in a revolutionary fashion to create fuel for current creative efforts:

“The intention was to pull together the technology start-up cluster, which was previously dispersed around Singapore, to one common location, for increased synergy and economies of scale. With this development, Blk71 rapidly transformed from an old, deserted industrial estate into a thriving start-up hub.”

In addition to government based funding for technology and entrepreneurship, which is already robust, there is no shortage of rewards or sponsorships you can earn as a student attempting to fund your business. The student-run Protege Ventures along with entrepreneurship awards given by universities can produce an extra $10k to $20k in funding.

Developing and fostering future talent stand as some of the key goals regarding the efforts made by the Singaporean government to back entrepreneurship and tech. Studypool sits at the forefront of this recent shift in the tech industry of Singapore, participating as one of the businesses offering to host Singaporean interns and introduce them to the startup culture of Silicon Valley. The program, known as the NUS Overseas College (NOC), exists under NUS Enterprises and allows Singaporean students to participate in internships for startups globally.

Sritam, the head of product engineering for Studypool in Singapore, along with team members Nick, Nehemiah and Josh have spearheaded this type of initiative through the NOC program. All students of NUS, the team has transitioned from their original roles as web and software engineers towards designing more market-oriented and organic growth processes for Studypool.

For instance, the combined efforts of Sritam, Nick, Nehemiah, and Josh have further catapulted Studypool onto the international stage through a number of ideas they have brought to the table regarding integration of international payment systems past PayPal. The introduction of these systems and improvements to Studypool’s site architecture has greatly improved the ability of Studypool to interface with individuals on a global basis. It captures a process of internship that not only drives global diversity in its wake, but also gives companies and individuals the necessary grounds for further advancing towards their goals in a fast-paced society.

At the center seat of Asian commerce, Singapore’s global economic influence dwarfs its physical size. Heralded as the city known as a country, Singapore’s population lies near 5.5 million, and you can drive coast to coast in about two hours. The physical location of Singapore makes it a great place for businesses and business leaders to headquarter in because of its proximity to a number of large Southeastern Asian markets such as those of Laos, Cambodia, and Indonesia and due to the integration of Eastern and Western values.

Over the past three years alone, Singaporean tech talent across fields such as engineering or computer science has exploded as a result of the government engagement and backing to create opportunities. For instance, a year-by-year analysis of trends in GPA and grade profiles published by major universities in Singapore reveal that computer science has become much more competitive as a field. On the whole, Singaporean talent also is receiving more international recognition, as universities like Cambridge have recruited the most students from Singapore’s Raffles Junior College.

While still in its nascency, the tech space and interest generated by these programs have drawn the attention of a number of industry leaders to Singapore. Players such as Google, Facebook, and Apple are entering the Singaporean economic ecosystem in order to capitalize on the opportunity present. The integration between NUS internship, government backing, and strategic placement in the Asian Southeast (ASEAN) feeds the blossoming and concentration of technology in Singapore.