Antler, EF and 500 Startups join ESG's Startup SG Founder programme

STARTUP ecosystem players Antler, Entrepreneur First (EF) and 500 Startups have joined the Startup SG Founder programme as new partners, Minister of State for Trade and Industry Alvin Tan announced on Tuesday.

He was speaking at SLINGSHOT, an annual startup competition organised by Enterprise Singapore (ESG) and held during this year's edition of SFF x SWITCH (Singapore Fintech Festival x Singapore Week of Innovation and TeCHnology).

The Startup SG Founder programme provides mentorship and early capital to first-time entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas. In August, the government announced the setting aside of an additional S$150 million to enhance the programme, along with a new three-month venture building programme.

Startup SG Founder thus far has about 50 Accredited Mentor Partners (AMPs) appointed by ESG. These mentor-partners will help to identify eligible startups based on their business concepts, feasibility of business models, strength of their management teams and potential market value.

Antler and 500 Startups are global early-stage venture firms; EF is a talent incubator that helps aspiring entrepreneurs form a founding team. The three new partners will start their first cohorts next month, and help to better cater to the interest and ambitions of interested participants, Mr Tan said.

Noting that Singapore has around 220 venture capitalists and around 190 accelerators, Mr Tan emphasised that startups form an "important part" of the country's economic strategy.

"We will ensure we can support a new generation of enterprises and entrepreneurs to scale from Singapore and seize opportunities in the region and beyond. We have devoted significant efforts to growing our startup and innovation ecosystem over the years.

"Singapore has become a leading global hub building on our strengths in areas such as IP (intellectual property), talent and our networks. Our business-friendly regulations and IP regime make Singapore an attractive location for all companies engaging in innovation, regardless of their size or maturity," he said.

The final round of SLINGSHOT, which features a S$200,000 grand prize, takes place on Wednesday.