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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Asian Opinions, Mailbox

What Singapore needs to become next Silicon Valley

The Straits Times | Tuesday, May 20, 2014

SINGAPORE - Singapore is known for its good infrastructure, economic stability, rule of law and ease of setting up business, all of which make it conducive for growing enterprises - but why have we not seen a home-grown Google yet?

Part of the reason is a lack of venture capital.

It is a chicken-and-egg problem: Venture capitalists (VCs) shy away from Singapore because there is a lack of promising start-ups with potential for significant global impact.

But that results in a gap in Series A funding, which prevents many high-potential Singapore start-ups from ever taking off and becoming what VCs seek.

How, then, do we attract VCs? The first step is to grow an entrepreneurship ecosystem - much like what is in place in San Francisco.

We can build this ecosystem in three ways: training our talent, providing physical capital and growing the entrepreneurship community.

I mentioned in a letter last year ("Don't neglect computer science education"; Forum Online, July 17, 2013) that we should place more emphasis on computer science in our curriculum, as programming enables entrepreneurs to build their own tech start-ups.

We can also have boot camps that help mid-career professionals transition into tech entrepreneurship.

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