ACE Position Paper

This Position Paper marks a watershed moment for ACE and an exciting opportunity for Singapore’s startup ecosystem. Through a series of extensive surveys and in-depth focus groups that spanned six months, we have collated the latest ground sentiments from prominent Singapore-based startup founders, venture capitalists, and Government stakeholders.

After subsequent analysis, in collaboration with our knowledge partner – PwC Singapore’s Venture Hub team, and our Steering Committee, we are eager to share with you our findings.

This Position Paper highlights three essential building blocks for a future-ready startup ecosystem:

  • Improving Market Access
  • Realising Talent Opportunities
  • Accelerating Funding

While the direction is clear, there is indeed much work ahead of us. As the nation’s startup trade association, ACE is determined to do its utmost to uplift our startup community and work with you to support this essential economic ecosystem.

Like young sprouting trees, startups in Singapore still face a gauntlet of challenges. This may seem by virtue of the business lifecycle stage they are in, but our research shows that new opportunities avenues for growth do exist, and some initiatives can be finetuned to tide startups who have promising ideas through the early vulnerable stages.

Improving Market Access
Compounding startups’ woes is the issue of market access. Budding entrepreneurs often regard Singapore as an accessible starting point to the Southeast Asian market, but lately, regional headquarters on local soil has had a hard time justifying their namesake. New complexities introduced by the pandemic and border controls have also limited expansion opportunities, robbing Singapore of much of its former lustre.

Realising Talent Opportunities
When it comes to talent, it doesn’t matter how brilliant our ideas are, fulfilling them without help from the right people is near impossible. It takes more than just throwing money at the problem, too. Startups tend to lose out on attractive hires because they cannot offer as much as larger corporations. So, to achieve a sustainable flow of talent it will require a concerted effort from institutes of higher learning, governing bodies, and even larger corporations.

Accelerating Funding
Startups deal with these situations, and more, while running on a financial timebomb. Funding availability determines how long startups can hold out. Often, things boil down to a matter of buying just enough time to execute ideas, or missing out and burying their entrepreneurial dreams altogether.

Challenges:

Market Access

  • Networking opportunities are dwindling
  • Difficulty exists when trying to access overseas markets

Talent

  • Slow Talent Acquisition in a Fast-Paced Environment
  • The Battle for Talent Continues to Grow
  • A Negative Social Stigma Poses a Risk to the Economy

Funding

  • High barriers to entry still exist
  • Investors are acting with caution
  • Deep tech is overlooked and underestimated

Goals:

Improving Market Access

  1. Continue to prioritise international ties and expansion platforms
  2. Streamline the process for getting market access support, grants, and partnerships
  3. Continue to support local market access initiatives in parallel

Realising Talent Opportunities

  1. Design and implement new courses that are fit for purpose
  2. Make it easier for startups to bring in foreign talent
  3. Incentivise collaboration between startups and large enterprises
  4. Boost the attractiveness of startup careers

Accelerating Funding

  1. Improve engagement between enterprises, venture capitalists and startups
  2. Fast-track Government grant processes
  3. Play a part in boosting valuation figures

Recommendations:

Improving Market Access

  1. Work towards having Singapore’s regulations and standards recognised as a benchmark in overseas countries.
  2. Minimise the long application procedures for market access support in order to make more resources available for partnership identification and overseas local hiring.
  3. Foster active collaboration across our local startup ecosystem, particularly between large enterprises and startups.

Realising Talent Opportunities

  1. Fund a dedicated university programme that is co-designed with startup founders, so it is fit for purpose.
  2. Continue to sponsor and expand programmes for young and upcoming talent.
  3. Adapt the ratio for local and foreign talent for startups.
  4. Provide incentives for placement programmes between large corporations and startups.
  5. Take a more proactive and early-stage approach to promote entrepreneurship.
  6. Implement a mentorship programme between successful entrepreneurs and young aspiring entrepreneurs.

Accelerating Funding

  1. Engage more knowledge partners within the ecosystem to educate startups on funding intricacies.
  2. Implement a more systematic approach to matchmaking startups and investors.
  3. Organise roadshows to educate stakeholders in the venture capital ecosystem on the latest technology and gather input from venture arms.
  4. Set up a private and public sector panel to coach grant applicants and investigate obstacles faced by banks and venture capitalists.
  5. Streamline and accelerate the grant application process.
  6. Provide support and tools for startups during valuation stages.

 

Please click here to read the full Paper. You can also access our survey findings within.

 

ACE Position Paper Engagements – Video Highlights [Watch video here]

ACE Position Paper – 5 Day Countdown

ACE Position Paper – Official Release

ACE Chairman’s LinkedIn Post

PwC Singapore’s LinkedIn Post

PwC Singapore’s Website

ACE’s LinkedIn Post on Improving Market Access

ACE’s LinkedIn Post on Realising Talent Opportunities

ACE’s LinkedIn Post on Accelerating Funding

 

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