Got a New Idea? This scheme can help

Firms with new business models, products and services can get aid in coordination across agencies

A new service has been set up to help businesses develop new ideas that they have devised.

The scheme allows the Government to coordinate efforts across multiple regulatory agencies to help firms with new products, services and business models - a recognition that innovations these days can cut across multiple domains. It will also use methods such as regulatory sandboxes to help standardise how new business ideas are dealt with.

"(We want to) formalise the process of facilitating new and innovative ideas," said Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and Education Chee Hong Tat yesterday.

"By nature, new ideas will run into regulatory boundaries, because they are things that have not been tried before. But this is also where we can have innovation.

"We hope that with this scheme, companies that do not know who to look for or which agency to approve of their ideas... can approach (us)."

The New Idea scheme, as it is called, is being administered by the Pro-Enterprise Panel, a private-public platform under the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Mr Chee used the example of the Floating Donut Company, which lets customers dine on a boat at Marina Bay.

He said: "The process was quite difficult for the company initially because it did not know who to approach and there were multiple agencies that could be involved.

"But when we stepped in through the Pro-Enterprise Panel, (we could) help to coordinate and bring in our colleagues from different agencies to see how we could support the new ideas."

Mr Chee, who was speaking on the sidelines of a visit to dental start-up Zenyum, which developed a service that reduces the cost of teeth straightening, noted that the Floating Donut Company has been able to expand and has secured an extension of operating hours.

The Pro-Enterprise Panel also runs clinics to provide a one-stop service to make it easier for businesses to approach public sector agencies about rules and regulations.

The initiative started in March and has helped 18 companies so far from sectors such as healthcare, transport and fintech.

Zenyum, for example, was able to get Health Ministry help regarding the regulations it needed to comply with when dealing with patients.