Singapore, Facebook launch programme for startups focused on data

Facebook is partnering Singapore's Infocomm Media Development Authority on a six-month programme to offer support, including co-working space and mentorship, for startups that focus on data-driven technologies.

Facebook has inked a partnership with Singapore's Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) to offer a six-month programme aimed at helping startups develop data-driven technologies.

Called Startup Station Singapore, the initiative would mark the first time the social media company was offering the programme in Asia, and only the second globally, after France.

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The scheme would commence in February next year and aimed to to "empower startups to accelerate their businesses" whilst maintaining "people's trust, transparency, and control over their data", the partners said. The first batch of startups would comprise local participants as well as those from Southeast Asia.

The programme would offer mentorship, with access to Facebook experts specialising in artificial intelligence and product innovation, as well as opportunities to connect with investors and venture capitalists, which would attend demo day at the end of the programme.

Training also would be provided and the startups would be able to join Facebook's global initiative FbStart, giving them free access to the US company's tools and services.

In addition, IMDA would a regulatory sandbox in which startups would be able to leverage datasets in a live environment to develop and test new applications and ideas.

The startups also would be offered a co-working space equipped with prototyping lab, studio production, and incubation facilities, and built around design, data, engineering, and ICT.

Facebook's Asean head of public policy Alvin Tan said: "We're thrilled to support a new generation of regional startups that have the potential to create jobs and grow the economy. Through our partnership with IMDA for Startup Station Singapore, we will be able to give startups the infrastructure and access they need to refine and scale their business models."

IMDA CEO Tan Kiat How added that the tieups with industry partners such as Facebook would help inject key digital technologies into Singapore's startup ecosystem, including artificial intelligence and data protection.

Tan said: "Coupled with our strong push to develop data collaboratives and data-sharing frameworks, this ensures that Singapore continues to be an attractive location for startups to site their data-driven projects, test innovative ideas, develop solutions, and springboard into new markets."