A new programme was launched on Thursday to encourage more local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to leverage emerging technologies to gain a competitive market advantage.

Programme launched to encourage more SMEs to leverage emerging technologies

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) launched the Headstart programme to grant royalty-free and exclusive intellectual property (IP) licences for the first 18 months to local SMEs that collaborate with A*STAR.

The exclusive use of the IP can be further extended at business-friendly terms through Exploit Technologies Pte Ltd (ETPL), which is A*STAR’s technology transfer arm.

Over the past five years, more than 700 SMEs have undertaken close to 2,200 projects with A*STAR.

Second Minister for Trade and Industry, S Iswaran, announced the scheme in Parliament on Thursday.

Headstart will complement existing A*STAR schemes that provide SMEs greater accessibility to practical and affordable technology.

Philip Lim, chief executive officer of ETPL, said: “The number of A*STAR technology licences going to our SMEs have tripled in the past five years, and we are encouraged to help our SMEs be more competitive in the global marketplace.

“The terms of the Headstart programme were specifically tailored for our SMEs in mind, to empower them to launch the development of new products and services.

“In the drive for productivity improvements and quality growth, R&D and innovation are key differentiators for our SMEs. We are confident that this initiative will spur more and deeper public-private partnerships.”

Since September 2013, Headstart has received interest from local enterprises.

These businesses are in areas such as electronics, infocomms and precision engineering.


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