Economic Development Board of Singapore Restructures Operations

January 2019

According to a report in the Straits Times, dated 7 January, 2019, the Economic Development Board of Singapore has sorted its staff into three ‘streams’ to help build deeper relationships with companies, better attract promising businesses and generate financing for local start-ups. Previously, the EDB was organized by industry clusters, each of which would handle any kind of investment interest in their respective industries. 

In the new structure based on function one of the streams will focus on going deeper beyond discussing projects for companies which have a strong presence in Singapore. EDB MD Chng Kai Fong said that he meets the heads of such companies about twice a year to discuss plans for the next five years. Staff in this stream will seek to better understand the company’s plans and help them better understand Singapore’s value proposition, with the ultimate aim of getting the companies to plan and think about a longer-term investment in Singapore. 

The second stream will focus on bringing in promising tech companies seeking to expand in the South East Asian region. EDB will facilitate their entry for setting up a presence in Singapore. The EDB plans to concentrate on tech start-ups from the United States, China, and ASEAN during 2019. 

The objective is to make Singapore a platform, convenor, or facilitator to develop products and services for ASEAN. For this, Singapore will also improve its understanding its understanding of ASEAN through steps such as sending students on internships in neighboring countries, and helping workers re-skill for regional roles via the Professional Conversion Programme for Southeast Asia Ready Talents.

The third stream works to support the relatively less developed corporate ventures (investments made by corporates in start-ups) landscape in Singapore. EDB will help big corporates to set up corporate venture arms and evaluate deals, while also taking on a part of the risk through financing. This stream is separate from the EDB’s investment arm, EDBI.

(Sources: Straits Times; Business Times)

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