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Singapore strengthens SME-focused initiatives with South Korea

It launched a program that allows SG SMEs to establish their presence in Korea.

Singapore's initiative called "Rainmaking Expand Korea" targeted at fostering business relations was launched on November 10, spearheaded by Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Trade and Industry, Dr. Tan See Leng. 

This will open opportunities for Singaporean start-ups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to use South Korean government initiatives and private sector partnerships to establish their presence in Korea. It also aims to enable Singapore technology SMEs and startups to integrate themselves into the innovation system in Korea.

This program is expected to complement Korea’s Ministry of SMEs and Startups' initiative, K-Startup Centre or KSC, which aims to bridge the exchange of innovation activities between Singapore and Korea. This was launched in July 2020 and has been supported by Enterprise Singapore.

Technology SMEs from Singapore have already entered the market, with Neuron Mobility, a rental e-scooter company and Senserbot, which is a Radio Frequency Identification robotic solution for libraries. 

Leng also said that Singapore start-ups have also shown interest in the K-Startup Grand Challenge, a three-and-a-half-month acceleration programme for foreign start-ups. Vouch, a Singapore-based startup, was able to secure contracts with several hotels in Korea through this challenge. The start-up focuses on hospitality e-concierge solutions. 

Meanwhile, since the beginning of the KSC, 13 Korean start-ups have set up a presence in Singapore. These include Sentbe, a cross-border fintech start-up, and AIZEN, an AI fintech startup. 

“Singapore is well-positioned as a hub and gateway to Southeast Asia and will continue to strengthen our efforts to be the global-Asia node for innovation. We welcome the interest of Korean venture capitalists and conglomerates to invest in Singapore, and use Singapore as a launchpad to Southeast Asia and beyond. We have seen an uptick in interest from Korean companies in the region in recent years,” said Leng.

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