Incubator Programme

ACCELERATE @ SICCI

A 3-month incubation program, where budding start-ups can receive mentorship from a team of esteemed mentors and potential funding / investments from handpicked investors in targeted sectors / industries. Through business advisories and frontline interactions with a wide range of start-ups, the team identified fund-raising, proper mentorship / guidance and a lack of direction for the long-term as pain points to be worked upon.

Empowering Budding Entrepreneurs

We have been working on Partnerships and Outreach to form alliances with Incubators, Accelerators, Co-Working Spaces and Venture Capital funds. As a result of this we have built a strong network in this space and been privileged to understand the ecosystem and its practices.

This will be a 3-month program in which the selected start-ups will undergo vigorous mentorship by a partner and regular business advisory from Business Advisors (BAs) from the SME Centre @ SICCI (or Little India). The program aims to accelerate the start-ups business plans to hit the market at the end of the 3-month schedule, obtaining minimally either:

  • First sales / revenue
  • Investments

The program schedule consists of the following:

  1. 1-to-1 mentorship by the partner at least once a week (this can be done via a meeting or phone call) in which the partner will be discussing the progress on development or client acquisition.
  2. 1-to-1 business advisory by a BA from the SME Centre @ SICCI (or Little India) at least once a month in which BA will be touching upon pain points of the start-up and recommend the relevant mode of assistance.
  3. Tours to start-up-oriented areas, such as JTC Launchpad @ One-North.
  4. Invites to talks / workshops organized by the SME Centres and SICCI. Additionally, targeted talks will be organized, specifically for the entrepreneurship scene.
  5. Practice pitches at least once a month in front of the entire cohort of start-ups and selected secretariat staff. At the end of the program, the cohort will be made to do a final pitch to a team of selected investors / partners for potential investments.

The incubation program is targeted towards early-stage start-ups which have yet to hit the market. Taking reference from definitions laid out by Enterprise Singapore, the proposed basic eligibility criteria is as follows:

  • 30% Local Shareholding (Either Singaporean citizen or Permanent Resident)
  • Core development / operations to be carried out within Singapore
  • Headquartered in Singapore (defined by key decision-makers being based locally)
  • Not more than 5 years of incorporation

OR

Alternative criterion proposed

  1. Singapore registered business
  2. Core functions carried out in Singapore
  3. Innovative & scalable business model

Beyond the basic eligibility criteria for consideration, companies will be assessed on the following:

  • Defensibility / Innovation: The company must be able to exhibit clear barriers to entry and a comparison against potential / current competitors within the target market, highlighting why the proposed solution / service is a cut above the rest.
  • Commercialization potential: The company must provide a business plan, detailing its targets / goals for the next 5 years. The business plan should include a revenue model and partners (if any) that the company aims to work with. Applicant companies which are classified as “deep-tech” must minimally provide 2 Letters of Intent (LOIs) to verify commercial interest.
  • Key management team: The founding team must be well-rounded and one-man applicant companies will not be considered. The founding team should ideally consist of members who have relevant experience in the target market and development / planning expertise for the product / service.

Alternative

  1. The company must have clear thought strategy and coachability. This will be imperative for their learning and growth as a business.
  2. Company must be able to scale where the business model does not rely on the expertise of any one person in the team.
  3. Company must be able to show significant efforts towards already starting the business if it has not yet started

We have  identified the need for mentor partners as well as potential investors to participate within the incubation program. The proposal sets a guide to the roles / responsibilities of these parties as follows:

Mentor Partners: The mentors should be keen to guide and advise the start-ups, rendering assistance in accordance to the direction which has been decided upon by the start-up. Mentors should possess market knowledge of the start-up that they have been partnered with and managerial expertise. Mentors can double-up as investors, if they so choose to enter a round of investments at the end of the 3-month program. The team proposes at least 10 mentor partners to kickstart the incubation program.

Investors: The team understands that the budding start-ups could require funding injection to accelerate their growth plans and have highlighted the need for a panel of investors to be recruited. The panel of investors will be tapped upon for the final pitches at the end of the 3-month program. Additionally, it is a requirement that the investors, should they choose to enter a round of investments, must take a board seat and be active in guiding the start-up.

The criteria for the selection of mentor partners is as follows:

  • Singapore-based
  • Possessing at least 10 years of managerial experience at the C-suite / key decision-making level
  • Market experience in a targeted industry / sector

The criteria for the selection of investors is as follows:

  • Singapore-based
  • Market experience in a targeted industry / sector
  • Possesses managerial experience or technical expertise in the targeted industry / sector.
  • Able to commit a minimum of SGD 30K for general-tech / service start-ups or SGD 50K for deep-tech start-ups.
  • Portfolio of at least 10 prior investments.

Alternative proposed

2 types of investors in the start-ups

  1. Angel Investors – recommended minimum 4-5 “Entrepreneur in Residence” – They may choose to invest in the start-ups in the cohort if they wish and it will be preferable to set a minimum amount they should pledge
  2. Venture Capital Firms – recommended 2 that will set the direction of the accelerator in terms of industry focus and investments into start-ups

We are exploring

  • Government funding angles
  • Tapping upon private funding via Venture Capitalists / Investors

A few venture capital firms can be approached for this funding however it may be difficult to get them to fund the operations of the accelerator program as they are usually interested in the investment rounds of start-ups only. We may consider approaching ESG for the Incubator Development Programme or a new variation of it if they have one.

Previous case reference of a similar initiative – Anthill Ventures where I roped in Ms Priscilla, Ms Clarise and Ms Lynette from ESG and they were able to guide on StartupSG Equity and StartupSG Accelerator funding.

StartupSG has the following 3 components which would be very useful.

Programmes to nurture start-ups: Costs of developing programme(s) that help start-ups develop new products and services, obtain business financing, improve market access, etc.

Mentoring start-ups: Hiring of mentors & experts to provide management and technical guidance to start-ups.

Operating expenses (partial): Enterprise Singapore will determine components of operating costs we can support, such as salaries for the incubation team.

Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry
SICCI Building
31 Stanley Street
Singapore 068740

Tel: +65 6222 2855
Fax: +65 6323 6746
Email: sicci@sicci.com

Opening Hours
Monday – Friday : 9:00am – 6:00pm
Closed on Saturdays, Sundays & Public Holidays

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Incubator Programme

Role of SME Centre@SICCI

1) 1-to-1 business advisory – monthly clinic
2) Offer Accelerate@SICCI’s cohort invitation to our capability workshops and partner events
3) Cohort can be engaged to potentially adopt solutions for GBU projects