Startup hubs are linking Singapore and Indonesia, filling the gaps in policy
The collaboration, announced yesterday, is part of a growing number of initiatives that connect both country’s startup ecosystems.
It’s more than sharing physical space.
“Tenants of EV Hive will have access to the BASH events. They can use the space as a springboard to Singapore and the region,” says East Ventures managing partner Willson Cuaca. East Ventures is the VC firm that runs EV Hive. (Disclaimer: East Ventures is also an investor in Tech in Asia. See our ethics page for details.)
BASH, which is managed by Singapore’s SGInnovate, a relatively new Singaporean government initiative, can turn into an avenue for Indonesian entrepreneurs to connect with talent and funding. After all, SGInnovate specializes in boosting “deep tech” companies built around things like artificial intelligence and machine learning, digital manufacturing, robotics, and so on. Expertise in these fields is underdeveloped in Indonesia.
Members of BASH, in turn, can use EV Hive as landing pad to the archipelago, says Willson.
Helping Singaporean startups expand beyond the city-state’s borders is particularly relevant to the future of its economy. Its recent budget announcement reflects this.
Singapore and Indonesia need each other, but despite efforts to reach deeper economic integration across the region through the ASEAN economic community (AEC), there have been few tangible results. There are still barriers to trade of goods and services, and the mobility of labor is still restricted.
Startups, meanwhile, have paved their own way when it comes to leveraging neighboring countries’ strengths to their own benefit.
Even early stage Indonesian startups tend to incorporate in Singapore. Eric Chin from consulting firm InCorp, which helps entrepreneurs in this process, says he’s seen an uptick in requests from Indonesia in the past quarter. Setting up a company in Singapore is quicker than in Indonesia, and there are benefits like easier access to capital and lower tax rates.
On the other side, Singaporean consumer-facing startups like Shopee and Carousell need Indonesia, as it’s the region’s biggest market in terms of population, with a growth opportunity that can’t be ignored.
With cross-border spaces like the one EV Hive and BASH have set up, it’s becoming easier for entrepreneurs to hatch a regional strategy from the start.
Another initiative is Block71, which is also backed by the Singapore government and just opened a branch in Jakarta.
Access to cross-border networks is also a way for co-working spaces to stand out and offer services that go beyond desk rental.
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