14 mins read

When innovation happens across borders.

Why Enterprise Singapore partnered with Nordic expertise to support local entrepreneurs in their international growth. 

At Epicenter we work on a lot of international projects where we see clearly how innovation accelerates when ideas and ways of working are exchanged across borders and cultures. To give you some inspiration, we here give you the story on why Enterprise Singapore partnered with the Nordics to support their top local entrepreneurs in their European market entry and international expansion.

Enterprise Singapore has teamed up with Epicenter, and other Scandinavian innovation experts, to provide promising Singaporian startups with insights into the Swedish model for entrepreneurship and international growth. In November 2022 the selected startups arrived at Epicenter Stockholm to continue their accelerate program on site. 

With Stockholm being the home to companies like Spotify, iZettle, Skype, Klarna, and Minecraft it is a unique place for innovation and producing global tech unicorns. With this track record Stockholm has also become a place that other nations seek out as a starting point for their entry into the European market. Epicenter Accelerate Singapore, led by Jack Melcher-Claësson, Head of Start-Ups Accelerate at Epicenter is a program specially designed for Singaporian startups to get support in their international growth journeys . 

At Epicenter we carry out innovation and growth programs, both in-house and in collaboration with partners such as Microsoft, Google and the Nordic Council of Ministers. Over 400 startups and scaleups have participated in our programs with good results. We also have a strong experience in helping foreign companies in their international establishment, often in collaboration with state and municipal programs from e.g. Egypt, Finland, and South Korea. Next in line is Singapore, in collaboration with Enterprise Singapore, the local authority responsible for the country’s business development.

– With Stockholm’s history of producing unicorns such as Klarna, Spotify, and iZettle, in combination with Epicenter’s track record of running successful innovation and growth programs, we see this collaboration as an unique opportunity for us to support some of our leading Singaporian entrepreneurs in their international expansion, says Jonathan Lim, Director Global Innovation Network at Enterprise Singapore.

After a thorough selection process, the finalist companies started the program in with an agenda adjusted for each participating startup’s needs, with tailored coaching, mentoring and match making to maximize their growth. The final phase of the program now starts on site in Stockholm with Epicenter as a base but with access to the entire Epicenter community across the Nordics. 

– With Epicenter Accelerate Singapore Cohort the goal is to have Epicenter and Stockholm as a base and springboard for the finalist companies’ global growth journeys. We will spend a lot of time preparing the entrepreneurs to go from promising startups to global scaleups, with all the challenges that entails, says Jack Melcher-Claësson, Head of Accelerate at Epicenter Stockholm. 

The program is also part of Sweden’s long-term efforts to strengthen the relationship with Singapore, where Business Sweden takes a leading role in building the bridge from Sweden to Singapore. 

– Singapore has for some time been a natural springboard for Swedish entrepreneurs in South East Asia. It’s now great to see how we can reverse the co-operation by nurturing our ecosystem with impactful ideas from Singapore, using Stockholm and the Epicenter team as a scaleup factory with our global unicorns and multinationals, says Jan Larsson, CEO Business Sweden. 

The Global Innovation Alliance (GIA) is a network of Singapore and overseas partners in major innovation hubs and key demand markets, with a focus on technology and innovation. It is a joint initiative between Enterprise Singapore and the Singapore Economic Development Board. Sweden has been identified to be a key innovation node for the Nordics region and hence there will be a GIA set up between Singapore and Sweden in 2022.

Under this alliance, Team Sweden will be supporting Singapore startups and SMEs keen on venturing into Sweden and the Nordics, together with Epicenter. The programme will run as a full-year pilot as a start and the long term goal is to continue the alliance, with Singapore as the main funding partner. This is a key collaboration platform, with investment from both governments and part Sweden’s talent attraction pilot of international scaleups to innovation clusters.

One of the key stakeholders to make this project real is Vinnova, Sweden’s innovation agency. For this specific project they have allocated co-funding from their Talent Attraction Program.

The Singaporean Government and its society is a front-runner within digital transformation. We are very much looking forward to connecting our ecosystems in Sweden and Singapore within the areas of digitalization, innovation, sustainability, and talent attraction, says Darja Isaksson, Director General, Vinnova.  

Learn more about Epicenter Accelerate & Advisory here. If you’d like to get in touch with any of the Singaporian startups while they’re in Stockholm – send an email to jack@epicenterstockholm.com.



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