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S$1b innovation fund launched in Singapore to drive enterprise growth for our future economy

26 April 2017 [Singapore]
- Innovators and enterprises in Singapore will soon benefit from a range of new initiatives that helps them translate their ideas into assets. This includes the launch of a one-billion dollar Makara Innovation Fund (MIF) by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) and home-grown private equity firm, Makara Capital. Commercially-driven, MIF will target high-growth companies with strong IP and proven business models, leveraging Singapore as a base for their growth and expansion into world markets. This was announced by IPOS and Ministry of Law today, along with updates to the IP Hub Master Plan.

Updates to the IP Hub Master Plan

The Committee on the Future Economy’s (CFE) Report has identified IP as a key driver of economic growth. In response, IPOS and the Ministry of Law have updated the 2013 IP Hub Master Plan to support the CFE’s recommendation to strengthen Singapore’s innovation ecosystem and build capabilities to help enterprises innovate and scale up. For a start, the initiatives in the IP Hub Master Plan is estimated to inject at least 1.5 billion dollars value-add into the nation’s economy, with further benefits as it catalyses more innovation-driven enterprises, in the next five years. The number of skilled IP experts will be doubled to 1,000 over the next five years to support the growing demand for innovation expertise, and create good, well-paying jobs. Company-level engagements will be stepped up to help local innovators and businesses identify and understand their IP, and use it for growth and expansion. The IP Hub Master Plan also focuses building an innovation and IP ecosystem in Singapore where good ideas from over the world can be transformed into assets, revenue and enterprise growth.

Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance, Ms Indranee Rajah, said: “The IP Hub Master Plan is the blueprint for developing Singapore into a Global IP Hub in Asia. We have made significant progress over the last four years. IP is going to be an important enabler of Singapore's growth moving forward. It protects business innovation and thereby encourages commercialisation. Singapore has a strong IP regime, which will enable local businesses to harness IP for growth. We will focus on helping enterprises to integrate IP into their business strategies early, and to commercialise their IP and scale up. As our businesses expand into international markets, they should take advantage of the international IP networks and connectivity that we have built up."

Strategic Collaborations for Singapore's Success

To deliver on the priorities mapped out, IPOS announced several new collaborations with partners in the business and finance community.

I. Makara Innovation Fund for IP-driven companies

IPOS, through its enterprise engagement arm, IP Value Lab, and Makara Capital have established a one-billion dollar Makara Innovation Fund (MIF). MIF is Southeast Asia’s first private equity investment fund that sources IP-driven companies internationally and capitalises on cross-border regional expansion. This pilot project leverages on IPOS’ strong IP expertise and networks, along with Makara Capital’s commercially-driven investment approach and private equity expertise. It will invest $30 to $150 million across 10-15 IP-rich and high-growth potential companies with globally competitive technologies from anywhere in the world, including Singapore. These companies will then tap on Singapore’s IP ecosystem to help them deepen their value creation, compete effectively and expand into the global markets. Employing a “from Singapore and through Singapore” approach, MIF will help to anchor the nation as a destination for ideas to be translated into assets and revenue.

II. New MoU with SBF to help enterprises innovate and scale up

IPOS and the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) also inked a new Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate in driving enterprise growth through IP and innovation. The deepened engagement between both organisations will help SBF’s 25,000 member companies build IP awareness and competencies, as well as gain direct access to IPOS’ suite of IP services, such as training, executive education and complimentary IP clinics. Mr Ho Meng Kit, CEO of SBF, explained, “As we transit to the Future Economy, it will be increasingly important for Singapore-based enterprises to systematically create, manage and leverage intellectual property in order to be globally competitive. The partnership between SBF and IPOS will promote companies’ understanding, appreciation and use of IP to create a strategic edge for themselves through the various initiatives that we will jointly work on. IP is vital to the success of businesses; it is intangible yet highly valuable in its ability to set businesses apart from their competitors.”

III. Access to local and international expert IP advisory and management tools

IP ValueLab will also collaborate with EverEdge Global Ltd, an international IP management consultancy firm, to reach out to more than 150 local innovative enterprises over the next three years, to provide intensive and customised assistance on IP strategy, management and commercialisation, and help them in their long-term growth and expansion plans (See Annex D for IPVL-EverEdge advisory services). Part of this collaboration will feature the launch of a new, self-help business portal – – for innovators and companies to access a repository of IP business guides and diagnostic toolkits. These resources will be pitched at business owners and help them understand the value of their technology, brands, content and databases in a simple and yet strategic manner. Innovators and companies will acquire the requisite IP know-how, and be provided with useful IP management tools without the burden of additional costs. 

Intellectual Property, Innovative Economy

Mr Daren Tang, Chief Executive of IPOS, said, “IP is key to our future growth and the fuel for an innovation driven economy. Our focus must shift to IP commercialization, to allow our enterprises to use IP strategically for growth and global expansion. We are also working with partners from various sectors who are likewise focused on enterprise growth and aligned with our vision of IP. With these new areas of focus, IPOS will evolve beyond our traditional role as an IP registry and regulator to become an innovation agency. We have built deep IP expertise and networks over many years, and are now working hard to build an innovation ecosystem that will help local and foreign enterprises transform their ideas into assets, and use Singapore to springboard into the world.”

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