More new space planned for startups: Spring Singapore

Second LaunchPad is in planning stage; three new blocks will be added to the first facility

THE government is planning to set up a second LaunchPad for startups even as it expands the first one – JTC LaunchPad @ one-north – with the construction of three new blocks.

The existing LaunchPad at Ayer Rajah Crescent – which comprises blocks 71, 73 and 79 and is jointly spearheaded by JTC Corporation and Spring Singapore – offers facilities such as co-working, incubation, and startup space for entrepreneurs.

The three new blocks – 75, 77 and 81 – will provide an additional 12,000 square metres of space and house 250 more startups. These blocks will be completed over 2016 and 2017.

At the existing LaunchPad, block 71 is about 95 per cent filled,block 73 is about 50 per cent taken up and block 79 is more than 80 per cent occupied. It will house about 500 startups and 35 incubators.

The new LaunchPad will be in the vicinity of JTC’s CleanTech Park, which is next to Nanyang Technological University (NTU). Plans for the new facility are still underway, but its main tenets are similar to the current site.

Locating it next to NTU and within the vibrant living laboratory in CleanTech Park will allow startups to benefit from the proximity to research experts and academia from the university and the industries and businesses, noted Heah Soon Poh, assistant chief executive officer of JTC’s Cluster Group.

In addition to providing physical facilities, other means of supporting the entrepreneurial community in Singapore include the opening of Block 71 San Francisco, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Friday, when he officially opened JTC LaunchPad @ one-north. Block 71 San Francisco will help connect Singapore’s startups to the US market and startup eco-system of mentors and investors, said Mr Lee.

Taking the LaunchPad community to the next level will be the newly privatised Action Community for Entrepreneurship, said Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck. Its welcome centre and collaborative ideation space at block 79 will be a one-stop shop for new entrepreneurs and also be a focal point for players to connect and network.

With this match between the “software” and the “hardware”, it will be possible to replicate this model in other parts of the world, said Mr Teo.

Entrepreneurial activity in Singapore has increased steadily over the years, with the number of employing startups growing from 24,000 in 2005 to 42,000 in 2013. The proportion of startups in higher-value sectors has also grown. Startups in these knowledge-intensive, technology sectors comprised 39 per cent of all active startups in 2013, an increase from 33 per cent in 2005.

Singapore’s startup sector employs about 9 per cent of the country’s workforce. About 20 per cent of Singapore respondents in the latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Report have indicated their intention to start a business within the next three years.

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