19 Jan 2016

Singapore: a Gateway to Southeast Asia


The entry of Singapore into the Enterprise Europe Network in May 2015 opens a whole new range of opportunities for European SMEs. Made up of 99% of SMEs, the Singaporean business ecosystem is indeed very similar to that of Europe.

With the entire country occupying an area smaller than New York City, Singaporean enterprises have long understood the need to look beyond the city-state’s shores. They have turned the limitations of a small domestic market into opportunities.

Their experience in doing business around the region and the world gives them a strong record of delivering integrated solutions and high-quality products.

"Singaporean companies tick all the boxes to become the ideal business partners for ambitious European SMEs," says Marco Gorini, Head of Innovation and Technology Transfer at Veneto Innovazione, and mentor of the EEN Singapore consortium.

An inaugural brokerage event of Enterprise Europe Network Singapore will take place on 21 April 2016. It will focus on Environment, Cleantech, Energy, Medtech, Food and Advanced Manufacturing.

Ease of doing business
"Singapore is in a great position for global trade and business, both geographically and from a regulatory perspective. The newly formed ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) will further strengthen Singapore’s position as a trading and services hub with reduced tariffs and freer movement of goods, people and services," says Lam Joon Khoi, Secretary-General of the Singapore Manufacturing Federation, coordinator of the consortium.

Its many free trade and intellectual property agreements make it an ideal gateway to Southeast Asia. With a GDP of $2.4 trillion and a population of more than 600 million, the region is undoubtedly an impressive and fast-growing market.

Today, Singapore is the fourth largest financial centre worldwide. It has been ranked first in the ease of doing business by the World Bank, for nine consecutive years. Singapore was also ranked fourth in the world and top in Asia for best IP protection in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2015/2016.


Quality and high standards
"Singaporean enterprises are known for their dedication to quality, high standards of delivery and drive to innovate," says Lam Joon Khoi. Complemented by a talented international workforce, they excel in fields as diverse as:

  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Education
  • Transportation
  • Urban planning
  • Port services
  • Seawater desalination

Foreign investment in high-value industries and professional services is promoted by the Singaporean government.

Opportunities for technology partnerships
Singapore has also established its importance as a technology and innovation hub. High-tech enterprises and international firms like Microsoft, Abbott and P&G, together with technology start-ups and research centres have shaped Singapore’s vibrant technology landscape.

“With Singapore’s entry into the Network, we see new opportunities to bring together European and Singaporean SMEs to explore technology transfer and R&D cooperation,” says Professor Lam Khin Yong, Executive Director of IPI Singapore, a member of Enterprise Europe Network Singapore.

The government has played an active role, investing and supporting innovative business projects. An example is the 'Productivity & Innovation Credit Scheme' (PIC) scheme, according to Lam Joon Khoi, whereby eligible businesses can enjoy tax deductions or cash pay-outs for their investments in IP and innovation.

"I went to TechInnovation 2015, a technology-industry brokerage event organised by IPI," says Gorini. "My visit to Singapore gave me a taste of what is out there for European SMEs. It's a great place to do business and the Network in Singapore will help find the best connections."

It's your turn to visit
Representatives from both Singaporean and European businesses, trade associations and chambers are invited to attend the inaugural brokerage event on 21 April 2016. The event will focus on Environment, Cleantech, Energy, Medtech, Food and Advanced Manufacturing.

It's your chance to discover new opportunities and network with potential partners in Southeast Asia! Register now!

For any enquiries, please contact:

* * * * *

The EEN Singapore Centre is formed by a consortium of three organisations in Singapore:

Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF)
With a membership of over 3,000 corporate members ranging from MNCs to SMEs, SMF carries out a myriad of activities to enhance the competitive edge of its members and promotes trade and business collaboration between its members and international businesses.For more information, please visit www.smfederation.org.sg


International Enterprise Singapore (IE Singapore)
International Enterprise (IE) Singapore is the government agency driving Singapore’s external economy. It spearheads the overseas growth of Singapore-based companies and promotes international trade.For more information, please visit www.iesingapore.gov.sg


Intellectual Property Intermediary (IPI)
A government and non-profit organisation, IPI Singapore facilitates technology partnerships between global technology providers and Singapore-based enterprises in meeting their innovation needs, through technology transfer or research cooperation. For more information, please visit www.ipi-singapore.org

This article is reproduced with the kind permission from Enterprise Europe Network.

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