Commercialization Singapore style…

On September 25th I set off to Singapore to speak at the 2010 Innovation Enterprise Week held at Biopolis.  26 hours (and nine action movies) later, I arrived in beautiful Singapore.

It was my first time visiting Singapore and I was struck by its dazzling buildings, lush vegetation and how clean and orderly everything was.  Compared to late September in Toronto it was (of course) very hot and humid – par for the course near the equator.

Being a rascal, I eschewed Singapore’s draconian chewing gum laws and brought a small quantity of the deadly substance into the country, enjoying a defiant chew whenever there was no-one around.

My speaking engagement was thanks to a kind invitation from Walter Lee of the Technology Transfer Network (an international collaboration for best practices in commercialization).  My talk was on how MaRS uses a convergence approach to help emerging companies generate momentum more rapidly.

The other speakers in the session were Greg Horowitt (Global CONNECT, San Diego), Tom Hockaday (Isis Innovation, Oxford) and Jose Luis Herce-Virgil (WIPO, Singapore) each of whom gave an excellent presentation on their experiences of commercialization.

Singapore has made tremendous investments in its R&D infrastructure.  Biopolis itself is a 220,000 m2 cluster of facilities that cost approximately $600 million to build.  Through these investments, Singapore has created a world-class hub for research and advanced manufacturing.

During IEW 2010, the Government of Singapore announced a further $16 billion in R&D support over a five year period. Wow!

I would like to thank TTN, A*STAR and Exploit Technologies for their kind invitation to an exceptional event.