MINISTER BISHOP: I’m very pleased to be in Singapore to meet with my counterpart the Foreign Minister, and meeting with the Prime Minister later today. We began by meeting with Singapore and Australian businesses and talking about how deep and strong our economic and trade relationship is. The Australian government and the Singaporean government are committed to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership where we are expanding our economic, trade and investment ties and defence and security connections, more collaboration in science and innovation and our people-to-people links. I’ve been delighted to launch a start-up landing pad here in Singapore which recognises the level of interaction there is between the start-up community here in Singapore and in Australia. Already four Australian startups have been established here, working with investors, mentors and other partners in a very high quality, high tech ecosystem here in Singapore. Ours is a longstanding, strong friendship, we are close partners and my visit here is an opportunity to deepen and strengthen those ties.
JOURNALIST: You have a couple of other Landing Pads across the world in Berlin and in China as well. Specifically, why was Singapore chosen to have this when you could have had it in other cities?
MINISTER BISHOP: Indeed, under our National Science and Innovation Agenda we decided to establish five landing pads to encourage our start-ups to collaborate across the world, and we selected San Francisco, Shanghai, Berlin, Tel Aviv and Singapore. And because of the environment here in Singapore, the success of start-ups here, the government’s focus on creativity and innovation, and the interest of the capital markets here, it seemed an obvious choice. It’s also a gateway into Asia and speaking to a number of the Australians who are here in Singapore, they’ve certainly reinforced the view that Singapore is a great place for collaboration and creativity and for the necessary capital.
JOURNALIST: How do you think the Singapore start-up ecosystem can add further value to Australian start-ups and help them grow?
MINISTER BISHOP: There’s a significant start-up community here indeed, I understand from Minister Iswaran there are about 4,800 start-ups here in Singapore and that’s been a very rapid increase. So clearly this is the right environment. I think Australian start-ups have much to learn, much to gain from being here, it’s the collaborative open exchange that is so important, and the capital funding, the mentors, the sharing of experiences, but also the Singaporean view of doing business in Southeast Asia and beyond, is of great importance and significance to us.
JOURNALIST: Can you tell us about the future plans to grow the number of Australian start-ups. In terms of their presence here, they have numbers to something with 4, what could we possibly look at in the future?
MINISTER BISHOP: Well, in our second round we hope to have 10, and then it will increase as the interest and awareness across Australia increases. So I expect that we will have a very vibrant dynamic start-up connection with Singapore through the landing pad here at BASH (Building Amazing Startups Here) I think it’s a great environment, a great space, and already we’re seeing ideas turning into commercial opportunities.
JOURNALIST 2: How will you know whether this has been a success?
MINISTER BISHOP: Clearly by the number of start-ups that are able to take their ideas further, and we are pairing with our other start-ups across the world, we have five in total. There will be a competitive spirit between these start-ups as to how our respective landing pads perform, but there will be a range of criteria that we’ll judge our success upon. I feel very confident that having a presence here in Singapore as a start-up landing pad will give us that edge, and I’m looking forward to seeing the fruits of this effort, this investment in Singapore.
JOURNALIST 2: Are you going to invest money in start-ups?
MINISTER BISHOP: (Laughs) I will encourage many people to do so. I think there are others who are better at managing risk and determine what start-ups are likely to be a success, but most certainly the Australia Government wants to provide the framework and the environment to enable our bright young people and our start-ups to have an opportunity to gain a foothold in what is such a vibrant and dynamic market. Thank you.
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