Singapore to See 2,500 Tech Start-Ups in Two Years

Between 2,000 and 2,500 new startup projects are expected in Singapore over the next two years, said Saw Ken Wye, managing director, Microsoft in Singapore. And giving them a leg up is a S$200 million (US$115 million) joint subsidy program which will help supply them with technology, people and expertise.

The program, NetImpaq, is a joint initiative by Microsoft, Compaq Computer and Intel.

Saw said the aim is to reach out to about half the projected number of startups in Singapore.

NetImpaq was launched last week by Michael Capellas, president and chief executive officer, Compaq Computer.

There's still lots of work to be done on e-business infrastructure, according to Capellas. Most of these technologies haven't been invented yet.

The Singapore program has four elements. Its first stage, NetImpaq Startup, which Compaq and Microsoft launched last month, offers special pricing packages to a broad range of startups with savings of up to 30 percent. The packages cover a choice of three hardware and software packages and ancillaries.

The partners said that NetImpaq Startup is available to all startups that are under two years old and have less than 50 staff.

Another element, NetImpaq Accelerator, is targeting to bring five or more incubators and more than 20 startups under its wing. Though quite similar to the Startup scheme, this one is targeted at those startups that are already in incubators.

To create a new physical incubator facility under the NetImpaq Incubator scheme, the three computer vendors have joined with incubator property developer, OPH-Ace.ic, which is a joint venture of Far East Organization Group and Orchard Parade Holdings. It will open before the end of the year.

The key benefit will be the exposure to Compaq, Intel and Microsoft's insights into next-generation Internet technologies, the partners said.

NetImpaq Alliance which is the fourth NetImpaq element, is a partnership program developed to enrich program marketing, and provide knowledge sharing and new initiatives with partners in the communications, development tools, security and finance fields.

In a separate move to nurture local infocomm companies, Microsoft and Compaq last week signed memoranda of understanding with the Economic Development Board (EDB) and the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) under the Infocomm Local Industry Upgrading Programme (iLIUP).

A joint initiative between IDA and EDB, iLIUP promotes strategic and mutually beneficial partnerships between leading, global technology providers and Singapore infocomm companies. iLIUP serves as a platform to help Singapore infocomm developers incorporate state-of-the-art technologies to build innovative new products and services.

As part of its global expansion endeavors, iLIUP partnerships can also bring about brand recognition, and catalyze technology proliferation and geographical extension of market presence, said IDA and EDB in a joint statement.

Compaq is a new player in the iLIUP program while Microsoft Singapore has been a partner in the program since 1996, during which it has partnered over 40 Singapore infocomm developers.

To date, there are ten global technology providers in the program -- Apple, BMC Software, Compaq, ILOG, Lernout & Hauspie, Lotus, Macromedia, Microsoft, Oracle, and Sun Microsystems -- with over 100 Singapore infocomm companies as their iLIUP partners.

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