What you need to know about the east if you're an entrepreneur
PART II: SINGAPORE
Next on our Innovation Tour menu was Singapore, one of the most exciting hubs of Southeast Asia which has a vibrant technology start-up scene. In this case, the `Think Huge’ mindset manifests itself as a boundless ambition. The population of Singapore equals that of Flanders (Belgium), where we come from. It has about 5.5 million inhabitants. Yet Singtel – Singapore Telecommunications Limited – delivers services to over 550 million subscribers, reaching far beyond its own borders. The same goes for PropertyGuru, which has 4 times as many visitors as its Belgian equivalent, Immoweb. Even though, strictly speaking, they have about the same local market reach. PropertyGuru simply skipped the local phase and immediately went for the Southeast Asian Region. What we learned from this experience is that if you are small, you just have to be that more ambitious. We have a lot to learn from this approach. It shows that a small nation can have a huge impact.
The beauty of it is that the Singaporean government cherishes those very same large aspirations. The IDA – the Infocom Development Authority – aims at making Singapore the smartest nation on the planet in the next 15 years. How’s that for an ambition? And they really mean it. They have literally investigated all the technology, the sensors, the opportunities – from machine learning through to augmented reality – in order to figure out how to take advantage of that, as a region. Check out the IDA Smart Nation Vision and you’ll see a government that thinks above rules and regulations towards opportunities and the future.
So, this is our message to our readers. Think `Huge’. If you are a start-up. If you are an incumbent. If you are a government. Think huge when it comes to your offering. Look beyond your company, beyond your products, your services, your country, your target market, your employees and your competition. Dream huge. Think huge. Accomplish huge. And while you’re at it, stop underestimating the disruptive power of the East. There are too many `hidden’ gems over there to be ignored.