Singapore is creating a S$1 billion ($718 million) fund to help innovative companies develop their businesses and expand overseas, part of the city state’s drive to boost economic growth.
The Makara Innovation Fund — a collaboration between the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore and local private equity firm Makara Capital — will invest S$30 to S$150 million each in 10 to 15 companies with globally competitive technologies over the next eight years, IPOS said in a briefing on Wednesday.
The measures are part of a strategy outlined in February by the Committee on the Future Economy, a government-led panel, that seeks to chart Singapore’s growth path over coming years. The committee recommended that IPOS take a stronger role in driving innovation.
“IPOS will build up from a regulator into an innovation agency,” said IPOS Chief Executive Officer Daren Tang. “This is a concrete and tangible way to show that Singapore can be a hub for intellectual property commercialization.”
Singapore ranked sixth in Bloomberg’s 2017 innovation index, ahead of the U.S. and Israel. The city-state has the third-largest number of patents granted per one million inhabitants, trailing only South Korea and Japan, according to Bloomberg estimates.
Singapore had 10,814 applications for patents in 2015, the last year for which there is available data, the largest number of any Southeast Asian nation, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization.
IPOS plans to double the number of intellectual property experts in Singapore to 1,000 over the next five years and will train 4,000 people a year, Tang said.
The agency will also assist companies in using intellectual property as collateral for financing. These initiatives, he said, should add about S$1.5 billion in value to the city-state’s economy over the next five years.