Speech by Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for Education, at Startup Weekend Singapore 2021: Seeds of Tomorrow

Published Date: 25 April 2021 04:30 PM

News Speeches

1. Hi everyone. I am very happy to join you virtually for this year's Startup Weekend Singapore.

2. Congratulations to Durwin, Joyce and the team of organisers for putting together this hackathon to celebrate entrepreneurship and innovation in Singapore and beyond.

3. The start-up scene in Singapore has changed dramatically over the last 10 years. When I visited our universities then, most students will talk about finding jobs with their preferred employers, be it in the private or public sectors. These days, many more will share with me their entrepreneurship journey and the start-ups that they have founded.

4. So the overall environment in Singapore is much more supportive of start-ups. Universities have incubator spaces to support such projects. Access to funding is also easier as we now have a more supportive and vibrant venture funding scene.

5. We are seeing more sophisticated ideas coming to market. The initial start-ups in the past were mainly in the B2C space. Now we are seeing more Deep Tech start-ups because we have been steadily investing in R&D over the years and many of these ideas are now being translated into commercial solutions.

6. We are also seeing a broader range of start-ups across different domains, for example, in AgriTech, in FinTech, and in MedTech. Your theme this year is on developing sustainable innovations for the future. Indeed, there are many important areas to look at, for example, environmental sustainability or social inclusion. I know young people are deeply passionate about these issues, and I am sure you will have many innovative ideas to bring about positive change.

7. I will encourage all of you to aim high and think big. To be a successful enterprise, you cannot just be serving the domestic market here in Singapore, which is very small. Of course, you can start from local demand. But you must quickly look beyond and scale up, to serve the regional or even the global market.

8. Going back to the theme of this year's hackathon, remember that successful business enterprises are not just about generating a financial return. It's also about creating positive impact for society and the environment. So find ways to do good and do well at the same time. There is a growing interest in the broader investment community for impact investing, so I am sure they will be more receptive to ideas that can generate financial return as well as social and environmental benefits.

9. For many of you, this is the beginning of your start-up journey. You must also be prepared that it will be a bumpy road ahead of you. No entrepreneur succeeds all the time. Everyone makes mistakes; everyone has to go through failure. In fact, you will probably learn more from your mistakes and failures. So do not be afraid to embrace them. Learn from them and wear them as a badge of honour. They will make you better, stronger and more resilient.

10. Finally, good luck and all the best to all the participants. I hope that you will continue to inspire others on their entrepreneurship journeys, and that you will continue to find ways to give back to the community. Most of all, in everything you do, always uphold the spirit of innovation and problem-solving, and the pursuit of excellence. Good luck and have a good weekend.

Share this article: