Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE) appoints new Chairman

Press Contacts
Ms. Clara Low:

Media Release

EMBARGOED UNTIL 11:59PM 8th June 2020 (GMT +8)


Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE) appoints new Chairman

Startup & innovation ecosystem get a new voice and direction

SINGAPORE, 9th June 2020 – The Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE) announces today that it has appointed Mr. James Tan as its new Chairman of the Board of Directors.

With more than 3,600 startups employing 18,000 people, more than 100 incubators, accelerators and venture builders, and 150 venture capital funds in Singapore, ACE’s scope has increased tremendously since its inception in 2003 by the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

With the global recession in force and Singapore’s gross domestic product (GDP) forecasted to shrink by between 4% to 7% this year, consumer spending behavior will take a sharp turn to a cash preservation mindset. Startups face considerably more challenges than legacy businesses in this commercial new normal.

“COVID-19 has disrupted all businesses, and for many industries, the changes will be permanent and irreversible. Businesses – GLCs, startups and SMEs alike – have to re-emerge with viable and sustainable plans to respond to a post-lockdown economy reopening in phases and peppered with unfamiliarity as the economy searches for a steady-state,” says Mr. Tan.

“This is an opportune time for ACE to re-validate and expand the role it was set up for – to support the startup ecosystem in their journey to become viable business going concerns. In this difficult period for startups, ACE provided ground-up support through public webinars and private matching activities such as the COVID-19 Seminar Series and Meet-The-VC Sessions,” added Mr. Tan.

ACE has been working closely with community stakeholders, especially government agencies, innovation enablers, and startups, to drive entrepreneurship and innovation in Singapore and beyond aggressively. ACE also helps to facilitate disbursement of government grants such as the Startup SG Founder grant and the Global Talent Ready (GRT) grant, which saw a surge in inquiries during this pandemic.

Prior to his appointment as Chairman, Mr. Tan served on the Board as the Deputy Chairman from 2016 to 2020, and as a Member of the Board from 2011 to 2016. Mr. Tan replaces Dr Mark Hon, who has completed his term as Chairman. Dr Hon, who will be appointed Chairman Emeritus, laid the groundwork to develop ACE into the international leading startup and innovation ecosystem developer it is today.

Mr. Tan is confident most startups will recover and the community will emerge stronger than before, materializing this vision in the years to come.

ACE was established in 2003 by the Ministry of Trade & Industry, and became a private sectorled organisation in 2014. Its current patron is Dr Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State for the Ministry of Trade & Industry.

“ACE is a key partner to the Government in fostering a thriving startup ecosystem in Singapore. Under the leadership of Dr Mark Hon as Chairman over the past four years, ACE has grown significantly, such as launching a youth wing and setting up the Innovation Enablers Network as a platform for co-innovation. The current COVID-19 pandemic poses many challenges for our startups and entrepreneurs. At the same time, I have seen many resilient startups and entrepreneurs adapting quickly to the current situation and pivoting to capture new opportunities. I am pleased that ACE has stepped up to support the startup community in managing their short-term challenges and seizing new opportunities.

I also welcome Mr James Tan as the incoming ACE Chairman. With his many years of experience on the ACE Board of Directors, I am confident that James will build on these efforts to further strengthen the local startup community and help more startups achieve sustainable growth. Together, we can help our startups emerge from this crisis stronger and more resilient.” shared Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Dr Koh Poh Koon.

“The whole-of-economy digital transformation momentum from COVID-19 provides an impetus for the Singapore economy to become ‘The Innovation Island’,” challenges Mr. James Tan. The Innovation Island is the vision that Mr. Tan has set for Singapore.

“Every crisis presents its opportunities. COVID-19 is cultivating a generation of resourceful, black swan-event-smart, and resilient Singapore entrepreneurs. Their collective experience and war stories will mold them into future leaders in our innovation ecosystem. We believe that such market-operating nous coupled with dexterous operating mindsets raise the “entrepreneur” quotient of the Singapore business world. The outcome is a much more permanent systematic impact,” says Mr. Tan.

#weareACE #ACEstartups #startupcommunity #entrepreneurship #innovation #startupsg #ACEevents








Notes to the Editor

For all media inquiries or interview requests, please contact: Ms. Clara Low:

About Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE)

The Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE), a national private sector-led organization, plays a key role in building a dynamic and sustainable startup ecosystem in Singapore. Established in 2003 by the Ministry of Trade & Industry, ACE is supported by the government under the patronage of Dr Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State Ministry of Trade & Industry.

ACE’s mission is to lead strategic community efforts to promote entrepreneurship, scale startups and build champion enterprises. ACE supports startups across all stages through three strategic core functions:

(i) driving co-innovation between startups and enterprises;
(ii) helping startups to scale and internationalize;
(iii) building an access hub of connected ecosystems across countries.

ACE enhances global connections for Singapore-based entrepreneurs and provides a platform for startups to expand into regional markets. Supported by Enterprise Singapore and JTC, ACEIC facilitates opportunities for both local startups seeking regional growth and international startups setting up bases in Singapore. Global networking and community building, business and funding networks, co-working spaces as well as a market access programme are part of the services offered. Today, ACE’s international network reaches twenty key markets and gateway cities.

For more information, visit
For collated resources for startups during COVID-19, visit
For ACE COVID-19 Seminar Series, visit





Apply for Membership