Action Community for Entrepreneurship appoints new Patron


SINGAPORE, 12th October 2020 – The Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE) announces today that Dr. Tan See Leng has been appointed Patron for the organisation. Dr. Tan is currently Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Trade and Industry, and also serving as the Member of Parliament for Marine Parade GRC for Marine Parade.

With more than 3,600 startups employing 18,000 people, more than 180 incubators, accelerators and venture builders, and 200 venture capital funds in Singapore, ACE’s scope has increased tremendously since its inception in 2003 by the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

In this pandemic, similar to most countries, Singapore is taking a cautious approach by reopening the economy with a three-phased approach. With phase 3 in sight as announced by Education Minister Lawrence Wong, border control measures will be relaxed, bigger groups are allowed, and more business activities are expected to resume. Undoubtedly, startups face considerably more challenges than legacy businesses in this commercial new normal.

The appointment of Minister Tan renews ACE’s push and urgency to engage all entrepreneurship and innovation stakeholders towards the vision of an Innovation Island. ACE will work closely with five identified community stakeholders of startups, corporations, institutes of higher learning, risk capital, and public sector actors to drive entrepreneurship and innovation in Singapore aggressively.

The Innovative Island is a virtual and physical space where ideas, knowledge, and capability are transformed into value efficiently. I look forward to ACE taking on the task of being the driving force towards the vision of an Innovative Island.

The Innovative Island will mean different things to each stakeholder. To the public sector, it is a place where it can efficiently find innovative startups that can solve various problems from creating a viable economy to traffic congestion. To risk capital, it is a place to efficiently find viable and scalable startup for investment that reap good returns. To institutes of higher learning, it is a place where it can efficiently get startups to adopt technologies it develops and employ its graduates. To corporations, it is a place where it can efficiently find suitable startups to provide products that enhance its existing offerings and acquire new capabilities for market expansion. To entrepreneurs, this is the place where he can get all the needed resources to create his startup efficiently.

“ACE welcomes Minister Tan See Leng as our new Patron. Minister Tan’s years of experience as an entrepreneur and operator with successful public and private exits will guide ACE forward as the national voice of the Singapore startup ecosystem. We especially admire his startup tenacity in his early years which is a trait we hope startup founders can emulate,” says Mr James Tan, Chairman of ACE.

Mr Tan, who took over the Chairmanship of ACE earlier this year, is himself an entrepreneur whose China-based company listed on NASDAQ. He is now Managing Partner at Quest Ventures, a Singapore-based venture capital firm.

Minister Tan replaces Senior Minister of State Dr. Koh Poh Koon, who has completed his term as Patron. SMS Koh, who was Patron from 2016 to 2019, oversaw a period where engagement between corporations and startups was strengthened with the launch of the Innovation Enablers Network and creation of the EPIC Festival. SMS Koh also laid the groundwork for startups market expansion into greenfield regions such as North Asia.

“ACE thanks Senior Minister of State Dr. Koh Poh Koon for his contributions to the Singapore startup ecosystem. Under his patronage, ACE drove partnerships between startups and corporations which culminated in the formation of the Innovation Enablers Network for corporate accelerators and digital transformation offices in corporations. In addition, SMS Koh was instrumental in our international expansion to greenfield regions in North Asia,” says Mr Tan.


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