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Singapore is a global start-up hub — but it lacks one important ingredient

  • Singapore is a leading tech hub, but domestic entrepreneurs lack meaningful visions, according to Grace Sai, CEO and co-founder of Impact Hub Singapore
  • Sai was speaking during SWITCH, the Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology

Singapore is one of the world's leading centers for global technological innovation, but its entrepreneurs need to think bigger, warned an important local player.

The Southeast Asian island-nation possesses the most capital to be deployed outside of China in addition to superior legal and political infrastructure, but the start-up ecosystem is far from perfect, according to Grace Sai, CEO and co-founder of Impact Hub Singapore, a co-working space.

"What is lacking in Singapore is what we call the audacity of purpose," she said on the sidelines of the Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology — or SWITCH — on Monday. "Having the next generation of entrepreneurs who think big enough and who are motivated to solve meaningful problems rather than just creating the next food delivery app."

Shophouses line many streets in downtown Singapore.
Brynne Rinderknecht
Shophouses line many streets in downtown Singapore.

Sai, who is also managing partner of Hub Ventures Fund, stressed technology's ability to bridge social inequalities. "As Singapore moves towards becoming a smart nation, we're also recognizing the importance of bringing human context to the design and application of technology."

Entrepreneurs based on the island-nation must also go beyond solving problems for their city state, and should instead think regionally, she added.