Singapore’s Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat has launched SG-Innovate, a pro-innovation programme in line with initiatives announced at the country’s Budget 2016 session last week.
SG-Innovate includes a FinTech Office, a virtual office for small companies in the fintech space, that will officially start this May 3. The office is said to be jointly established by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the National Research Foundation.
“We are setting up SG-Innovate to provide a way [to connect] budding entrepreneurs with smart money, mentors as well as with the global markets,” said Heng.
He further said, “Innovation will be critical to our future. These initiatives will be very important in transforming our economy, and create better jobs for our people and a better economy that is more vibrant.”
The office will be co-led by Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer, MAS, and Steve Leonard, CEO, SG-Innovate and Executive Deputy Chairman to the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), as well as executives from a number of other statutory boards.
The company will be listed under the NRF umbrella, with Leonard assuming the role of CEO.
MAS also seems extremely keen to sculpt Singapore as Asia’s next financial tech hub. At a conference, Mohanty said, as quoted in a report, “Fintech firms are not here to challenge you (traditional banks and other financial services companies). They are here to partner you.”
In terms of functions, FinTech Office will look at relevant funding opportunities for financial tech startups, identify gaps and propose strategies, policies and schemes in industrial infrastructure, talent development and manpower requirements and business competitiveness, manage the branding and marketing of the country as a finance tech hub through various events and initiatives, said MAS and NRF in a release.