Singapore tech startups looking to expand into Australia now can tap a new six-month acceleration scheme aimed at helping them do so.
Enterprise Singapore teamed up with Australian startup incubator Haymarket HQ to launch the Singapore-Australia Accelerator in Sydney. It is the first to be launched between the two markets under the Global Innovation Alliance, which is an initiative jointly managed by government agencies Enterprise Singapore and Singapore Economic Development Board. The programme currently runs in 17 global cities, with the aim to connect Singapore companies with local partners in the respective markets.
Under the Singapore-Australia Accelerator, Singapore tech startups in sectors such as smart cities, Web3, fintech, sustainability, deep tech, and agritech will be offered guidance on setting up shop Down Under.
Ten startups will be chosen to join the first cohort. Spanning six months, the programme comprises virtual and in-person activities during which participants will attend masterclasses, workshops, networking events, and industry briefings customised to their requirements.
Startups each will work alongside a mentor with relevant industry knowledge to craft an expansion strategy and nurture business connections. They also will join a trade delegation to Australia, commencing in Sydney, where they will be able to tap six months worth of co-working credits provided by Haymarket HQ, and gain firsthand experience operating within Australia's business ecosystem.
"We see Australia as a fast-moving, growing market that Singaporean businesses should keep their eyes on," said Joseph Zhang, Enterprise Singapore's director of Northeast Asia and Oceania. He added that tapping Haymarket HQ's experience running business accelerators that had helped tech companies expand into new markets would open up market opportunities across the region for participants under the new accelerator programme.
Haymarket HQ CEO Duco van Breemen noted: "Learning about a new market, building a local network, and achieving product-market fit costs time and money. The Global Innovation Alliance Singapore-Australia Market Accelerator is designed to fast-track and de-risk this process through mentorship, targeted introductions, and tried-and-tested frameworks that have supported hundreds of companies across Asia-Pacific."
Both countries in recent years have inked agreements to partner up across various areas, including a green economy pact to establish "common rules and standards" that drive trade and environmental sustainability. Pipped as the first such global trade pact, it encompasses various initiatives including cross-border clean energy trade and digital trade platforms.
The two markets also are looking to drive their collaboration in fintech and support each other's local ecosystem, including plans to establish a framework for joint innovation projects.
The Singapore-Australia Digital Economy Agreement was signed in 2020 covering several areas of cooperation, including cross-border data flow, digital payments, and artificial intelligence.
Some 2,700 tech startups in 2022 accessed funding, incubation, and mentorship through Enterprise Singapore's Startup SG schemes as well as aide from partners. Last year also saw the expansion of Global Innovation Alliance into Seoul and Abu Dhabi, according to Enterprise Singapore. Sweden was added to the roster as well in 2022, alongside France.
Across the board, the total number of Singapore businesses that took on globalisation initiatives climbed 25% to 2,000 last year, 900 of which did so for the first time. Southeast Asia still was the top destination market, with others seeking international expansion in the US, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, and Africa.