Closing Speech by MOS Alvin Tan at National Youth Entrepreneurship Awards (NYEA) 2022

Mr James Tan, Chairman, Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE)


Ms Florence Neo, Chief Executive Officer, ACE


Ladies and gentlemen




1  Good afternoon to all.


2  Wonderful to feel the energy at this year’s National Youth Entrepreneurship Awards (NYEA).


3  Congratulations to all our finalists and award recipients today.


“Tech-celeration” in a Post-Pandemic World


4  The NYEA has been spearheaded by ACE since 2017 to celebrate our students and graduates’ entrepreneurial qualities, as well as recognise their valuable contributions to Singapore’s startup ecosystem.


5  Living in the current pandemic environment, I find this year’s awards theme especially fitting. We are indeed living in a “tech-celerated” world, whereby technology has become such an essential part of our lives. How many of you can live without your computers and smartphones?


6  Indeed, the pandemic has underscored the importance of leveraging technological innovations in our daily lives, be it using Zoom for work and school and telemedicine.


7  We face growing competition in terms of capital, talent and opportunities. As such, it is important for us to pursue continuous research and innovation, which would ensure our relevance in the future economy.


8  There is tremendous potential for entrepreneurship among our youths in anchoring Singapore’s position in this digital world. Our young have much to offer to Singapore’s startup ecosystem.


a. They bring about fresh perspectives and ideas, which are useful for spotting market opportunities across various industries.


b. Most of all, they dare to take risks and come up with solutions to plug these gaps. These are favourable qualities that make a successful entrepreneur.


Supporting our Young Entrepreneurs


9  Startups play an important role in Singapore’s economy.


a. We have close to 4,000 startups in Singapore. We have developed 25 unicorns. There are over 200 global and local accelerators.


b. In 2021 alone, Singapore-based startups raised a total of $14.7 billion, which is almost triple of that raised in 2020[1].


c. A PwC study[2] estimates that startups will contribute up to 2% of Singapore’s GDP and account for 5% of total employment by 2035.


10  I understand that there are different Government programmes. I would be sitting down with my teams to consider refreshing some of them. Nevertheless, allow me to share some of these existing programmes.


a. Under the Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2025 masterplan, or RIE2025, we are investing S$25 billion to anchor Singapore’s positioning as a Global-Asia node of technology, innovation and enterprise[3].


11  The Government also has been actively supporting early-stage tech startups through the Startup SG schemes.


a. For example, the Startup SG Founder (SSGF) programme provides first-time entrepreneurs with mentorship, training and funding support from Venture Builders and Accredited Mentor Partners.


b. Since August 2020, more than 800 aspiring founders have received training from venture build-partners, which includes the five universities in Singapore[4].


12  With the help of ground feedback through ACE, Enterprise Singapore revised the eligibility criteria of the Startup SG Founder Grant programme in June this year to make it more accessible for first-time entrepreneurs.


13  In addition, our Global Innovation Alliance (GIA) programmes facilitate cross-border connections between Singapore-based and overseas companies.


a. The GIA Innovators Academy caters specially to Singapore students, and provides them with a better understanding of entrepreneurship and innovation activities at the major innovation hubs globally.


b. Since the inception of the GIA, , we have set up 15 active nodes worldwide, including nodes in Southeast Asia, China, India, Europe and the US[5]. Our goal is to establish 25 GIA nodes around the world by 2025. If you are going into these markets, do tap onto these GIAs, and we will connect you with the entrepreneurs.


14  In addition, our Global Innovation Alliance (GIA) programmes facilitate cross-border connections between Singapore-based and overseas companies.


The Government is committed to working with ACE and other partners to build a vibrant research and innovation ecosystem


15  Our industry partners have played a pivotal role in fostering the current vibrant startup ecosystem. I thank ACE and our ecosystem partners for their tireless support.


16  Since 2003, ACE has advocated for startups’ interests and has bridged communications between the Government and startups. ACE is also the intermediary between investors and startups at the various funding stages.


17  ACE has played a formative role in promoting entrepreneurship among our youths. It organises a wide range of activities, such as regular youth engagement sessions involving young founders.


a. In 2022 alone, ACE has collaborated with more than 10 Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) on these youth engagements, including Ngee Ann Polytechnic and the NUS High School.


b. Another recent initiative is BACECamp, a startup incubation programme, which seeks to provide its participants with structured mentorship and learning opportunities.


c. Earlier in May, they partnered with JTC to hold a career fair at its LaunchPad, which attracted 20 participating startups and over 550 students.


18  We will continue to work closely with ACE and the various ecosystem partners to cultivate an interest in entrepreneurship amongst our youths as well as to receive feedback from the industry.




19  Working in a startup is fun, fresh and exciting, but it also requires grit, courage and a ”never-say-die” attitude. One must dare to take risks, and not be afraid to fail. After seeing the dynamism and fighting spirit of our young Singaporeans, I know that the future is bright with the next generation of entrepreneurs, innovators and business leaders.


20  Congratulations once again to the finalists and winners of the NYEA. Keep this entrepreneurial spirit alive. Let’s not get too comfortable and let’s get hungry.


21  Thank you very much.

[1] Source: Speech by Minister Gan Kim Yong at JTC Launchpad Techfiesta 2022, 27 May 2022 (

[2] Source: “Singapore’s tech-enabled startup ecosystem” (

[3] Source: Written reply to PQ on Startups, 14 Feb 2022 (

[4] Source: Opening Remarks by Mr Peter Ong, Chairman, Enterprise Singapore at Slingshot 2021 Grand Finals, 10 November 2021 (

[5] Source: Opening Remarks by Mr Peter Ong, Chairman, Enterprise Singapore at Slingshot 2021 Grand Finals, 10 November 2021 (