Singapore SaaS proposals have overseas appeal

Seven new software-as-a-service proposals have been awarded development grants by the government as they showcase innovative, exportable potential.
Written by Kevin Kwang, Contributor on

SINGAPORE--The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) has identified seven new software-as-a-service (SaaS) proposals for development, and will be hoping these software will prove to be appealing enough to be exported overseas.

Ronnie Tay, CEO of IDA, said Wednesday the newly approved SaaS projects meet the criteria of being "innovative, high growth, exportable and address the critical needs of enterprise users", which was why they were awarded the grant to develop their software.

One example Tay mentioned was Astoria's AstorJob software. The SaaS product was custom-made for small maritime subcontractors to automate job management tasks and minimize work processes in invoicing and project document management, which is "highly demanded" by both local and overseas maritime companies, he noted during the CloudAsia 2013 forum held here Wednesday.

The awarded proposals will receive up to 70 percent of the "qualifying costs", IDA stated.

These seven greenlighted proposals differ from the previous 13 approved as part of the SaaS call-for-collaboration (CFC) project launched last June though.

According to an IDA spokesperson, the initial 13 SaaS proposals approved were to encourage the six identified sectors--early childhood, real estate, food and beverage (F&B), travel, private education and retail--to adopt the software offerings made available by the vendors. This is known as the "adoption" grant, whereby the money from the grant will be used to defray "qualifying costs" in areas such as software subscription cost, hardware cost, consultancy cost and training cost, she noted.

The seven approved proposals announced today, however, fall under the "development" grant. This means financial support will be given to areas such as manpower costs, training and professional services. "The CFC aims to encourage the augmentation of expert-level skillsets of SaaS architects and developers," the spokesperson stated.

In total, there will be at least 30 SaaS proposals supported by the SaaS CFC by June, and these are expected to be adopted by over 3,000 companies, said Tay. The majority of these would be small and midsize businesses from sectors such as real estate, maritime and logistics.

There would be 4 more development grants to be given to approved software developers, while the remaining 6 will be awarded to companies in the adoption grant category--all of which will be revealed next month, she added.

The government had set aside S$21 million (US$16.5 million) for the SaaS CFC in June last year, and IDA steered the project in partnership with other agencies such as Spring Singapore, e2i, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Community, Youth and Sports, now renamed as Ministry of Social and Family Development.

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