NUS Enterprise inks MOUs to expand support for Singapore startups

SINGAPORE - NUS Enterprise has penned four memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with four international partners, at the launch of a maritime-focused acceleration programme, that will expand the support extended to Singapore startups overseas.

The four international partners are startup hubs Innospace and Rainmaking Innovation, as well as Helsinki-headquartered equipment manufacturer, Wärtsilä, and Norway-based maritime group, Wilhelmsen.

The MOU with Innospace provides for the two involved parties to jointly scout for startups in China and Singapore.

NUS Enterprise and Rainmaking Innovation plan to attract and anchor venture building activities focusing on logistics and maritime sectors in Singapore.

With Wärtsilä, NUS Enterprise will provide mentorship in maritime communication for startups.

Through the partnership with Wilhemsen, NUS Enterprise aims to develop potential resolutions for the shipping and maritime services industry.

The signing of the MOUs took place in conjunction with the launch of Port Innovation Ecosystem Reimagined @ Block71 or PIER71. Set up by NUS Enterprise and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, PIER71 is an industry-wide acceleration programme that supports innovation and encourages the maritime industry to venture into new growth areas through collaboration with technology startups.

The programme was officially launched by Senior Minister of State for Transport and Health, Lam Pin Min, on Wednesday (June 6).

"The PIER71 programme opens a new chapter for NUS Enterprise," said Lily Chan, CEO of NUS Enterprise. "Building on the foundation that NUS Enterprise laid in spearheading the startup ecosystem, we are now fostering strategic partnerships to help bridge and provide platforms for our curated startups to engage with the flagship maritime industry and create opportunities for innovation driven growth."

MPA CEO Andrew Tan said: "PIER71 will catalyse collaborations between the maritime companies, technology startups and adjacent sectors to position Singapore's maritime industry for the next wave of growth enabled by digital technologies. Together with the setup of MPA, PSA and Jurong Port Living Labs for the test-bedding of new technologies and new concept of operations, we hope to position Singapore as a vibrant and innovative maritime hub."

The MPA had on May 15 completed PIER17's inaugural innovation workshop, which drew 23 maritime companies.

On Wednesday, the regulator of Singapore's maritime sector also kicked off Smart Port Challenge 2018 (SPC 2018), which now falls under PIER17.

SPC is a six-month programme that aims to catalyse digital transformation in the maritime industry by bringing together maritime and technology players to work on identified problem statements.

The number of maritime companies participating and contributing innovation opportunities in SPC 2018 has increased to 17 this year, up from 12 for the inaugural edition in 2017.

Besides cash prizes of S$10,000, S$5,000 and S$3,000 for the top three proposals, selected finalists also stand a chance to be invited to join PIER71 Accelerate, a customised curriculum on building viable maritime tech startups, and receive a further grant of up to S$50,000 from the MPA to develop prototypes with maritime companies. These innovation opportunities will be released on June 6 during Innovfest unbound, and the closing date for proposals is Aug 6, 2018. All local and foreign startups are encouraged to participate in SPC 2018.