Triple “ACE” strategy

The Multiplier Effect of Three

Stepping into 2018, Executive Director Edmas Neo reveals ACE’s ‘Triple ACE’ strategy and how it is set to amplify success for startups.

By most counts, 2018 looks set to be an exciting year for businesses in Asia. The IMF has made upwards adjustments to its earlier economic outlook for Asia Pacific, citing market optimism and low volatility for its decision. And while no one can tell what the future will really hold, at the Action Community of Entrepreneurship (ACE), we share a cautiously optimistic view of the year ahead.

To sharpen our focus, we have recently crystallised our new and ongoing efforts into a ‘Triple ACE’ strategy. The reason for this is simple.

At ACE, we view ourselves as an end-to-end ecosystem builder. From getting youths plugged into the entrepreneurial space, to supporting early-stage startups and helping more mature ones grow and expand, we are here to build a dynamic and sustainable startup ecosystem in Singapore.

Our startup scene has flourished, particularly over the past few years. And while our vision remains the same, it is now time to clearly define our evolving role, and articulate our direction, through the Triple ACE strategy. This gives us clarity, as much as it gives startups certainty, about how we will help you take off in 2018 and beyond.

Allow me to take you through the three strategies.


Thrust 1: Access hub for Connected Ecosystems

Singapore’s Committee of Future Economy has pinpointed connectivity as a key driver of the nation’s future. Connectivity takes many forms, but for startups, we are focused on driving connected ecosystems to facilitate the flow of talent, ideas and business opportunities across borders. This will also give us deeper insights into the needs and opportunities of each market — insights that we will be able to share with Singapore startups looking to expand in new markets.

To this end, we hope to break down the barriers between startup ecosystems. Ours is an ASEAN+ strategy, where we seek to position the Southeast Asian region as a single and highly-attractive destination for foreign companies. Each ASEAN market has a unique value proposition for businesses, and Singapore is well positioned to serve as an access hub and launch pad.

We have already successfully established bilateral agreements with Fukuoka and South Korea in 2017. Moving forward, our team is actively engaging regional neighbours like Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. Please look forward to cooperation announcements in the near future.


Thrust 2: Avenue for Company Expansion

The second layer of the Triple ACE strategy builds on the benefits of connected ecosystems to help startups grow.

Expansion can take many forms, which is why we are putting forth plans to support startups on three fronts. The first is market expansion, which we are already doing via the Market Access Programme. The structured three-week programme will see four intakes in 2018, to help startups identify new markets and prepare them for entry. This programme is best suited for startups who already have some traction in their local market. They should have a ready product and the financial and talent resources to pursue this growth trajectory.

For startups seeking funding to grow their business, we are exploring investor partnerships both locally and in the region, with organisations such as venture capital firms, KBAA and BANSEA.

Thirdly, we are also ready to help startups grow their clientele. Through our Digital Transformation Exchange (DTE) series, which we unveiled in 2017, we have already been connecting startups with SMEs and corporates in order to help them access new sources of market demand. In 2018, the series will take on a new and improved format with a refined focus on encouraging co-innovation throughout entire industry verticals.


Thrust 3: Accelerated Co-innovation Enabler

One of the biggest trends that we expect in 2018 is increased cooperation between startups and corporates, as more companies embrace open innovation. This is a two-way street, and will require both startups and corporates to learn to work together. At ACE, our role is that of a matchmaker and enabler.

To determine the innovation readiness of corporates, we use an ‘I.D.E.A.S.’ model:

Initial awareness of open innovation

Discovery and early exploration

Engagement through pilot programmes

Acceleration of open innovation programmes

Sustainable innovation where open innovation is culturally embedded

With this, we can appropriately pair corporates with programmes, initiatives or startups to create win-win outcomes.


Multiplying success in 2018

What can you do to ready yourself for a successful 2018, you might ask.

Well, we all know that entrepreneurship is a long and tough journey. You need perseverance and persistence, as well as clarity around your vision and the customer pain points that you are seeking to solve. When you have that mindset, I am sure that you will eventually succeed. Because, while there may be failed businesses and failed ideas, there are no failed entrepreneurs — as long as you don’t give up.

Here’s wishing all startups the strength to persist and the foresight to grow. May the next 12 months be yet another memorable milestone in your entrepreneurial journey.

Best Wishes,


ACE is committed to journeying with entrepreneurs. Our solutions and services are designed to support entrepreneurs at every business stage, from getting started and finding funding to growing your team and going global. To learn how ACE can support your entrepreneurship journey, contact us today at

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