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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Collins

SINGAPORE: When did doing Start Ups Become a Game?

Having just spent two days at Singapore’s Start Up Asia conference proudly supported by TechinAsia I left wondering ‘where is all the passionate big impact entrepreneurs?’ and ‘Since when did creating a business become a game?’  

I was lucky enough to get a first hand look at the start ups participating in the Start Up arena as a judge and spent the best of 2 days prior to that visiting over a dozen incubators and VC firms.  This gave myself a great overview of the environment, it’s challenges, and the next ventures in the investment pipeline.

Whilst the ecosystem in Singapore offers enormous value to young people getting into the start up environment from my experience it seemed to dilute the commitment and hunger in these people for worlds leading innovation.  Where was the die hard passion you expect to be demonstrated in a pitch?  Where was the ‘wow’ moments in which you’re left wondering ‘this guy is incredible and he will change the world?’

The pitches offered various forms of moderately improving an existing way of doing something – granted this small innovation can create value and at times worth investing.  But across the board the attitude, the energy and the overall ideas we sub par – and it just seemed to be a big game everyone was playing where if the current opportunity failed it made little difference to their lives.

So let’s assume these young people wouldn’t know better.  Let’s say they are doing the best they can do and offering the best they can offer given their own experiences, environment and mentorship.  Which begs the question ‘What are the values of mentorship these people are receiving?’ if we put the onus on the ecosystem and its creators we must look to whom is driving this and how its delivered?  The money is pouring in, VC’s are playing a ‘shot gun’ approach to investment and competition is rich which only amplifies this cycle.

So here we are – we have eager young people wishing to inject there fresh ideas and energy into new initiatives, we have the ecosystem for investment which drives them to Singapore, yet we’re not seeing worlds leading outcomes.  What can we learn from this?  Is it time for programs, ideation and framework to be established that delivers ground-breaking ideas which could impact the world?

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