Singapore to host World Entrepreneurship Forum in 2011

Singapore has won the right to host Asia’s first World Entrepreneurship Forum (WEF) next November, on the strength of its recent economic success and the government’s efforts to create an optimal environment for business and entrepreneurs.

WEF, which began in 2008 and has been held annually in France, brings together representatives from over 50 countries to promote entrepreneurship and share new ideas on economic, political, social and academic issues. Hosting the event in 2011 focuses more attention on Singapore’s prestige as a business center: there are now 50,000 startups there, compared to 37,000 in 2000 and Singapore was also one of the few countries where the number of new business creations actually increased in the past year.

Singapore’s two main advocates for entrepreneurial activity are the Action Committee for Entrepreneurship (ACE) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU), who are also founding members of WEF.

source & article: Channel NewsAsia


Asia Pacific Young Business Conference & Trade 2010 event

The Asia Pacific Young Business Conference & Trade 2010 (ABYCT) event begins this week in Putrajaya; a new initiative designed to match the region’s young business talent and product ideas with experienced professionals and promote Malaysia as a hub for innovation, marketing opportunities and R&D.

The three-day event includes business dialogs and presentations with 500 delegates and high profile guest speakers representing business and government, as well as an exhibition featuring 100 different organizations. APYCT is jointly organized with the Dewan Muda, Selangor Malay Chamber of Commerce, and runs from 28-30 October at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre.

Singapore E&Y Entrepreneurs of the Year 2010 awarded

Congratulations to the three Singaporean winners of this year’s Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards: John Tan, Chief Executive of ACR Capital Holdings, Olivia Lum, Group CEO of Hyflux and finally Dr Ng Chin Siau, CEO of Q&M Dental Group.

EOY Awards are presented to 900 of the most innovative and successful entrepreneurs in 140 cities in over 50 countries, who will represent their regions as finalists at the 2011 World Entrepreneur of the Year award in Monte Carlo. The awards, now 24 years old, are now in their 9th year in Singapore where they’ve become a significant event on the local business calendar.

E&Y praised the diverse range of businesses represented in the nominations and the environment in Singapore that allowed them to flourish. The company said they chose the winners “based on their merits in fulfilling six criteria; entrepreneurial spirit, innovation, personal integrity and influence, financial performance, strategic direction and global impact.”

source & article: Channel NewsAsia

The Economist: emerging world ‘teeming with young entrepreneurs’

This blog post from The Economist looks at the rise of young entrepreneurs in emerging markets and notes a shift in these countries from old fashioned ‘seniority’ systems and job security to a new respect for youthful risk and innovation. The median age in some emerging markets is well under 30 (though China’s is rising rapidly) compared to high 30s in the ‘West’ and a staggering 49 in Japan. The author sees this as one of the forces driving a “pro-entrepreneurial revolution”. He also credits programs by the World Bank, World Economic Forum and Microsoft for their encouragement, and even Goldman Sachs with its $100m program for female entrepreneurs, mainly in emerging countries.

It’s nice to see the ‘BRIC’ acronym extended once again to ‘BRICI’, including Indonesia in the emerging giant category. This region has 610 million internet users on predominantly mobile platforms, and the number is projected to double by 2015. Access to information is no doubt helping the cultural shift as young people begin to understand what is possible. Each emerging market still has its own unique obstacles and challenges, however, and some will ride the transformative wave better than others.

One thing though: In the first paragraph, the article describes Indian company Globals as the kind of business Westerners “simultaneously admire and fear”. While this may be true, fear of the young and new leads to incorrect responses like protectionism, anger and crippling regulation, and eventual doom for the establishment. Future profits will go to the fearless in all markets.


Big startup conferences in Indonesia: good idea or not?

There’s another ‘how much are startups willing to pay to network?’ debates going on over at TechCrunch. At issue this time is Indonesia’s SparxUp seminar on 5-6 November this year, an event organized by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs in the spirit of Tchcrunch50, and with some pretty big-time tech sponsors. Its US$350 entry ticket price, however, is causing some concerns in the comments. One pointed out this amounts to ‘1/8 the average yearly income’ of an Indonesian and would probably serve only to keep the event out of reach for the very public it’s designed to attract. Others make the often-repeated argument that the high price is a good investment for access to big players, while the organizer himself points out that most of the events surrounding the seminar are free, while the seminar itself is aimed at bankers, investors and other high-end participants who typically have larger budgets.

Others say the price is irrelevant (and affordable to many) but have concerns about any event with large Western sponsors and foreign guest speakers. Will they genuinely help the Indonesian scene, or mine its best talent with better offers elsewhere? While suspicions like this seem protectionist and don’t fit the spirit of a global tech community, it remains that many would prefer the Indonesian scene to stay local for now and develop its own brand further before the big money moves in. As usual, the jury is out. Expensive conferences attract much needed attention and offer benefit to non-paying participants, and there are still alternative events run by organizations like StartupLokal offering support with less hype.

Big players meet innovators at TechVenture 2010 in October

The high-fliers of investment, financial services and the technology business will gather at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore for TechVenture 2010 (6-7 October). The event invites around 350 participants to check out the best & brightest in technology and innovation, identify the hottest growth sectors and share experiences & tips on everything from raising funds to M&As, joint ventures and exit strategies.

Acknowledging that the world’s attention is shifting to new places, 2010’s theme is Discovering Opportunities in Asia’s Decade of Growth. The conference bills itself as “Asia’s premier event for High Net Worth Individual Investors, Business Angels, Venture Capitalists and their limited partners”, giving influential players from all the world’s big centers direct access to Asia’s latest batch of world-changing ideas.

A list of presenters is here.

More on Indonesia’s entrepreneur shortage: how to fix it?

More voices have joined the call for increased entrepreneurship in Indonesia. This time it’s Bedjo Sujanto, chancellor of Jakarta State University (UNJ) saying the country’s education system doesn’t instill in its students the values necessary to become entrepreneurs, despite some improvements in government support in the last few years.

A representative of the Ministry of Education estimated that only 0.5% of Indonesia’s 240 million people could be classified as ‘entrepreneurs’ (operators of businesses with around 20 employees). This compares with 7% in the United States and 6% in Singapore, who have long understood small business’ integral contribution to economic development. Chancellor Bedjo also mentioned that of Indonesia’s 0.5%, only 30% were university graduates.

The value of university degrees and government plans to entrepreneurship growth is debatable. Comments on the article in the Jakarta Globe suggest Indonesia is teeming with sole traders and street vendors who definitely don’t lack an entrepreneurial spirit, but don’t have the opportunity to grow their businesses beyond the micro level thanks to corruption and other barriers.

The government, for its part, has promoted the teaching of more practical vocational skills at high schools and universities, raising the entrepreneurship rate from 0.3% just a few years ago. It launched the KUR (People’s Business Loans) Program in 2007, offering loans of up to Rp 500 million (US$56,000) with risk shared by the government. Operated through six government-appointed banks, the program has been criticized for being too inaccessible to the businesses it could benefit.There is also the PNPM (National Program for Community Endowment) which distributes funds to 4,805 local districts around the country.

Both Chancellor Bedjo and Prasetyantoko, an economics analyst at Atma Jaya University, say the government plans and educational improvements aren’t changing the situation fast enough. The government’s target is a 4% entrepreneur population by 2014, but at current growth rates, it’s more likely to be 1-2%.