Singapore and Germany to deepen innovation collaborations at SWITCH 2020


German corporates look to partner Singapore-based startups and SMEs in digital and medical technologies, Internet of Things, and sustainability

  1. Singapore and German enterprises will be deepening co-innovation collaborations at the Germany Singapore Business Forum Connect (GSBF Connect) on 9 December 2020, held as part of Asia’s apex innovation platform Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology 2020 (SWITCH 2020). Co-organised by Enterprise Singapore (ESG) and the Asia-Pacific Committee of German Business (APA), GSBF Connect at SWITCH 2020 will feature six German companies – Lufthansa, BSH Hausgeräte, LafargeHolcim, Erbe, DHL and Volkswagen Group Logistics – participating in an innovation crowdsourcing session with startups and SMEs from Singapore and globally. Four Singapore startups specializing in smart nation, artificial intelligence, food technology and sustainability, and medical technology solutions will be shortlisted to share their solutions with a panel of German investors and startup scouts in a virtual pitch segment. Refer to ANNEX A for the full program of GSBF Connect at SWITCH 2020.
  2. Six German startups have also been selected as part of the top 100 global startups in the qualifying round of SLINGSHOT, one of the largest startup competitions in Asia-Pacific held at SWITCH 2020. These startups are apoQlar GmbH, Casablanca.AI, LiveEO, MedaPlus, Neohelden GmbH, and Pumpkin Organics GmbH. Refer to ANNEX B for more information on SWITCH 2020 and the German startups that qualified as the top 100 in SLINGSHOT.
  3. The co-innovation collaboration between German corporates and Singapore SMEs follow recent success stories between companies such as Infineon and SAP with Singapore startups such as Xnergy and Pulsifi, which will be showcased during the event. Such collaborations have resulted in commercially ready solutions that will be introduced to the market. German companies have also set up co-innovation centres and startup accelerators to testbed new innovations with Singapore-based companies. Refer to ANNEX C for examples of Germany-Singapore innovation collaborations from 2018.
  4. Fostering closer engagement between Singapore and German companies is part of ongoing bilateral efforts to broaden and deepen the ties between both business communities. In October, ESG and APA held the first edition of the refreshed GSBF Connect during the Industrial Transformation ASIA PACIFIC, attracting over 2,400 registrants and generating 300 business matches facilitated by ESG and supporting partners. This followed the Memorandum of Understanding signed by ESG and APA to support enterprise development through industrial and digital transformation in sectors of common interest.

Deepening collaborations between Singapore and German SMEs

The GSBF Connect platform adds to other initiatives aimed at connecting Singapore and German SMEs. One such platform is the Germany-Singapore SME Funding Programme, jointly managed by ESG and AiF Projekt GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. Industry players have also forged technology collaborations with institutes of higher learning. One recent example is the partnership between Singapore Polytechnic and German testing, inspection, and certification company TÜV SÜD. TÜV SÜD will provide industry expertise to help guide Singapore SME manufacturers on implementing Industry 4.0.

Shared values in quality and standards ideal for forging co-innovation partnerships

Singapore and Germany are like-minded in our pursuit for quality and standards, which place our companies in good stead as co-innovation partners. Singapore has built up a robust quality and standards infrastructure over the past 50 years, which supports innovation and research and development. Our SMEs adopt national and internationally-recognized standards that help them meet regulatory requirements in overseas markets, and adopt benchmarks that assure partners and customers of their trust and reliability. In October, as part of broader cooperation in standardization efforts in emerging areas such as artificial intelligence and future mobility, ESG signed an MOU with the German Institute for Standardization (DIN) and the German Commission for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies of DIN and VDE (DKE). Similarly, an industry-led partnership was formed between the Singapore Industrial Automation Association and OPC Hub ASEAN to boost SMEs’ capabilities in Industry 4.0, through providing training and technical advisory services on the adoption of Industry 4.0 standards.

Mr Peter Ong, Chairman of Enterprise Singapore and Co-Chair of GSBF Connect, said:

We see Singapore’s role as a Global-Asia node where the world can gather in Singapore to solve Asia’s most pressing problems, and also engage Asian startups with solutions for global problems. Singapore has built up a robust R&D ecosystem, and developed a collaborative community of problem owners and solvers with deep insights and networks into Southeast Asia. We welcome German companies to testbed in Singapore, and scale to other markets in Southeast Asia from here. We also look forward to growing more collaborations between innovative Singapore startups and SMEs, and German enterprises to accelerate the industrial and digital transformations of our respective economies.”

Prof. Axel Stepken, Chairman of the Management Board TÜV SÜD AG and Co-Chair of GSBF Connect, said:

My impression and experience are, that Singapore as a global crossroad of various economic, political and technological future trends, is always an innovator when it comes to transfer ideas into reality. The Singaporean authorities are extraordinarily supportive to facilitate the process of change and to encourage the local companies to break new ground and to use their full innovation potential. Germany and its companies on the other hand, especially from the SME sector, are known for high engineering skills and their ability to find durable solutions to demanding problems. What we can learn from Singapore is to embrace new technologies even more openly.”

Interested companies can register for GSBF Connect X SWITCH via the following link: Representatives from Singapore or German companies attending GSBF Connect X SWITCH that would like to be matched with potential partners to explore business opportunities can contact  

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