[email protected] programme — a government-backed programme that supports and invests in early-stage growth startups — is working with the Singapore stock exchange (SGX) to help startups access capital markets.

This announcement was made by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister For Communications and Technology, at the Infocomm Media Business Exchange Ceremony today.

Dr Ibrahim said more details about this partnership will be announced at a joint event with SGX next week.

For context, there is currently a dearth of startups listed on the SGX. Most Singapore startups chose to go public on the ASX instead, where investors are more tech savvy. This new development by IMDA may be seen as an effort to buck the trend.

At the same ceremony, Dr Ibrahim also reiterated IMDA’s plans to drive up Singapore’s tech innovation. He categorised them into four key frontier technologies.

Artificial Intelligence and Data Science

The first focus area is Artificial Intelligence and Data Science. At this year’s Innovfest Unbound, Dr Ibrahim had announced the launch of AI.SG, an initiative launched in collaboration with the National Research Foundation (NRF).

Together, they will work with companies to develop and commercialise up to 100 AI projects and proof of concepts. The NRF will invest up to S$150 million (US$107 million) in AI.SG over the next five years.

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The NRF will also collaborate with three local universities, NUS, SMU and NTU, as well as research institute A*STAR to set up the Singapore Data Science Consortium. By tapping on academia, the consortium aims to boost the local pool of data science experts.

Today, Dr Ibrahim announced that the ICT jobs placement initiative TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) is working with DBS Bank in a fintech project to develop professionals with expertise Agile Development, Development Ops, Information Security, and Data Analytics for the financial services sector.

IMDA has also partnered with three new companies Tata Consultancy Services, DerivIT, and SAS Institute to train more fintech and data science professionals.


IMDA’s cybersecurity initiative, the Cyber Security Associates and Technologists (CSAT) Programme, aims to develop more cybersecurity professionals. And today, Dr Ibrahim said that the programme has been progressing swimmingly. Major companies such as Singtel, ST Electronics (Info-Security), Quann, Accel, and Deloitte have all adopted the programme.

Dr Ibrahim also brought up the National Cybersecurity R&D Programme, which is running for its fifth year. It was designed to pump S$130 million (US$93 million) into cybersecurity R&D developments over five years.

Immersive Media

It is clear that the government doesn’t see VR and AR tech as mere novelties. IMDA has been working with production company Beach House Pictures to roll out VR applications for the social studies curriculum in five primary schools.

About four hundred Primary Four and Primary Five students learnt about design, architecture, and high-tech farming. Beach House Pictures also worked with Hiverlab to develop VR classroom apps to help students learn about different locations around Singapore.

Beyond the classroom. Tan Tock Seng Hospital is working with SideFX Studios to develop VR/AR applications to assist with clinical training.

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The government also established International Research Centres to develop VR and AR tech. One of these include BeingTogether Centre hosted at NTU that focuses on immersive telepresence technologies. At NUS, the Keio-NUS Connective Ubiquitous Technology for Embodiments (CUTE) Centre focusses on multi-sensory connection technology

Internet of Things

It goes without saying that IoT is a critical component in the government’s ambitious Smart Nation plan. Dr Ibrahim reiterated the importance of leveraging on fast and reliable networks.

Today, IMDA will be seeking consultations on the new 5G spectrum requirements and regulatory provisions. IMDA will also waive frequency fees for 5G trials to lower the regulatory barrier and to encourage industry trials in 5G technology.

Image Credit: masterlu / 123RF Stock Photo