Singapore to build ecosystem of venture studios: DPM Heng, Garage


Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has parked its newest corporate venture campus in Singapore to “build an ecosystem of venture studios for business innovation,” said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat at the launch of BCG Digital Ventures’ new campus on Friday.

While BCG Digital Ventures is one of the newer players in Singapore’s corporate venture scene, it hasn’t wasted any time. Since then, the company has brought together several companies like Temasek, Olam International, Singapore Exchange, and DBS to help them get an idea to market within 12 months.

BCG Digital Ventures started five new projects in 2020 and has around ten new incubations under its wing. The company’s new innovation and technology incubation campus in Rochester Park is the newest of BCG’s 11 innovation centers worldwide and was established as part of the company’s efforts to target the corporate venturing scene in Southeast Asia.

Peter Cho, managing director and partner at BCG Digital Ventures, said the next wave of innovation could come from large companies that are able to harness the power of their resources and assets to innovate, and not just from startups. “Businesses don’t stand still. They try a number of different vehicles for innovation … and corporate companies see a lot of traction,” he added.

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In Singapore, the Economic Development Board (EDB) is working with large corporations to start new businesses. EDB officers are used to develop new companies together with companies, to use EDB’s networks to support customer identification and product validation, and to provide risk capital.

“Investing in innovation was and is a cornerstone of our economic policy and a focus in our budgets,” said Heng.

Corporate venturing is one of the few ways to drive innovation in business, he said. “This is where BCG Digital Ventures, together with other venture studios, can have a significant impact.”

More than 40 companies have been launched in Singapore in the past two years.

One example is the Singapore Airlines (SIA) KrisShop. KrisShop started out as an in-flight sales channel, but has since grown into a full-fledged omni-channel e-commerce platform.

This expansion has allowed SIA to diversify its revenue and keep its customers engaged during this period when most of the flights are suspended, he said.

Many large companies have benefits that startups don’t – such as access to customers, established supply chains and distribution channels, and a strong intellectual property base and know-how, added Heng.

“The challenge is to find creative ways to synergize the skills of large companies with fresh and creative ideas from startups to create new businesses,” he noted.

“The pursuit of innovation will become even more essential as we overcome this crisis and venture into the post-Covid world.”

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