IDA launches accreditation programme for Singapore-based startups


Startups that receive the IDA Accredited Product from the new Accreditation@IDA programme will be preferred for government contracts


How do you know if a startup is credible and not some fly-by-night operation that will shutter its doors the moment it receives a million dollars in funding and leave customers and investors high and dry? The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) aims to assuage this concern by rolling out its in-house accreditation programme Accreditation@IDA.

First announced in April, Accreditation@IDA went live this month. Startups that apply to the programme will undergo rigorous technical, financial and operational evaluation of their products’ core capabilities and claims, as well as their sustainability and ability to deliver their products as promised.

According to Steve Leonard, Executive Deputy Chairman, Accreditation@IDA, the programme has been set up to help startups win projects from government and industry players as opposed to helping them find funding, of which there is plenty, given IDA’s large network of investors. This way, startups can generate needed revenue and refine their products at the same time.

Accrediting startups is only one part of the drive to help startups get business, however. IDA has also been working with both government agencies as well as corporations to facilitate their procurement processes. On the government front, IDA has introduced the Whole-of-Government (WoG) approach, where accredited companies will be considered first for projects, and accreditation can be considered in place of the costly, time-consuming Government Supplier Registration status.

As for corporations and industry players, IDA has inked strategic partnerships with companies and organisations like Amazon Web Services and Nanyang Polytechnic, where they will give preferred access to accredited startups as well as provide systems integration support, domain knowledge and capability development. To date, over 20 startups have expressed interest, and nine are currently undergoing evaluation.

With Accreditation@IDA, Singapore is well on the path to becoming a Smart Nation. “Singapore is building the world’s first Smart Nation, and one of IDA’s key focus areas is to build Singapore-based tech-product startups,” said Leonard. “We look forward to see the ‘IDA Accredited Product’ mark on high-potential Singapore-based tech-product startups very soon.”

Terence Ng

With a few failed and unrealized startups under his belt, Terence is no stranger to the startup landscape. He hopes to start something big. Someday. Meanwhile, he is content with bringing the latest startup and technology news to both professionals and lay readers alike.

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  • founderinsing

    Perfect… more paperwork for Singapore startups who are already disadvantaged by the lack of local engineering and design talent, high cost of living and tiny investment community.

  • lemms

    well, startups can all choose not to participate and focus on business. I see no reason to join unless the startup is planning on selling to sg government or have deep pockets to gain that accreditation, in which case, it does not need the accreditation.

    But then, instead of just moaning, how about some constructive suggestions? Like, how about IDA pays for the entire accreditation process, and subsidise the startups for the time and effort that needs to be expended on the process, instead of working on their business, and sales? But I see potential for abuse…

    Sigh… it is not easy to be a civil servant these days. :)

  • surender

    Hi lemms,
    There is no direct cost – in the sense there is no fee for getting the accreditation. However, there may be indirect costs through the process, which IDA says will have to be borne by the startup.

    IDA is looking for global solutions and accreditation can help startups compete at a global scale. Also, when a startup doesn’t get an accreditation, there is a feedback to work on the hurdles.

    Your feedback, nevertheless is valuable from a point that IDA should think to subsidise the extra costs that will be incurred during the process.

  • drew

    QwikFab is a Singapore start up that designed their own large format commercial 3d printer in Singapore. As far as I know they are self funded bootstrap company. Disadvantaged doesn’t mean impossible!

  • hodgemch

    I think its quite a good idea – obviously it shouldn’t cost much to obtain and involve too much time but then the question is how much subjectively (which can be good and bad) is involved in the process? – on first blush it is a good way for investors to filter out less desirable start ups but at the same time if the process is too rigid then good ideas may not make it though either..The devil as they say is in the detail

  • jigarcshah

    A laudable initiative.