Over the last year or so I have had the good fortune to spend some time in Singapore. What really surprised me was how vibrant the tech scene is and how much entrepreneurship is being encouraged and I wanted to share my observations with you.
Small country on the southern tip of MalaysiaOne big city270 square miles (less than half the size of London)5 million people (two thirds of the population)Former British colony gaining independence in 1963
Government has always had a master plan.Shipping hubFinancial hubAir hubTechnology hubOne of the ways it is trying to achieve this is by encouraging tech entrepreneurs mainly in the web and mobile areas.Has it got what it needs to succeed?
People (need to be smart and willing to take risks)BuildingWell funded, world class education systemIs it teaching the right things?DevelopingFew technical career paths-After 5 years if you are good then you will be a non-technical managerCultural success is based on the number of people you manageRetainingIf you are good you can earn more abroadAttractingEasy to bring in “foreign talent”
Is there entrepreneurial spirit?Willing to take risks - CultureTaking risks is not in the cultureNo social security safety netRice bowl?Parents don’t see entrepreneurship as a "valid" career choiceWhy take your chances being an entrepreneur when you can have a good job in a big company?Are graduates with entrepreneurial spiritNot many experienced entrepreneurs to guide them
FundingGovernmentWell meaning but bureaucraticCan be more work than it is worthAimed at graduatesMentality among entrepreneurs tends to be "will my idea get funding?“ to pay living costs for a couple years not “will my idea make a viable long term business”.Angel Investors /Ventures CapitalistsSmall,few, localLocal very disk adverseFew foreign
It there the right environment?GovernmentStable governmentIDA and MDA setup to support initiativeEasy to do businessLots of tax incentivesEnglish speakingInfrastructureExcellent CommunicationsTransportAir conditioningRelatively Expensive
CommunitySmall but strong communityHub websitesStrong social media useConferences (BarCamps to Echelon)IncubatorsHackspace
MarketLocal market smallHigh internet and smart phone usageMulticulturalRegional has many cultural differencesWest too remote
Why does it matter?It is held up as a success and an aspirational model to developing countriesWhere Singapore leads others will try to follow e.g.Asia: Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, VietnamAfrica: Rwanda, Uganda
The aim of this talk is share an insight to what is going on in Singapore and give you and chance to come to your own conclusions and hopefully see the potential opportunities that exist.I think the main opportunities are for people who can fill gaps:Senior technical peopleInvestorsPeople wanting to start a businessExperienced entrepreneursCoaches and mentorsThank you for listening.