Over 176 B2B meetings were held last week in the framework of the EU-Singapore matchmaking event
On the 18-20 October 2022, the European Commission, Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW) and Enterprise Singapore (Enterprise SG) jointly organised the EU-Singapore matchmaking event for cluster organisations and SMEs from the European Union (EU) and Singapore. The mission was supported by the EU Delegation to Singapore and the Singapore Ministry of Trade and Industry, which was facilitated by the European Cluster Collaboration Platform (ECCP) and the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN).
The event sought to support cluster cooperation for strategic business partnerships taking advantage of the provisions of the Free Trade Agreement (EUSFTA) signed between the European Union and Singapore in October 2018 and implemented in November 2019.
“The main objective of this mission is to help European and Singaporean clusters and companies to create new trade and investment links and business partnerships and we need to make sure that our companies can benefit successfully from the opportunities this Agreement has created,” explained Christophe Guichard, Policy officer – Cluster internationalisation, DG for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, European Commission.
Participants were focused on identifying potential areas of common interest for cooperation and synergies, in terms of the sectoral, value chain, and market focus of their SMEs and other companies. In addition, they aimed to improve the EU-Singapore industry and academia-industry collaboration in research, development, and innovation.
The two-day official agenda of the event took part on-site, in the frame of the 5th edition of Industrial Transformation ASIA-PACIFIC – a HANNOVER MESSE event (ITAP).
The EU delegation included 24 members representing different cluster organisations and SMEs from 10 EU countries (Bulgaria, Czechia, France, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, and Sweden). In total, including Singaporean organisations (both cluster organisations and SMEs) there were 76 participants in the matchmaking sessions, where 176 bilateral meetings were held.
Day 1, 18 October 2022
The EU-Singapore mission started with attending the opening ceremony of the ITAP event taking place in the Singapore Expo. “Industry 4.0 offers new opportunities and potential for cooperating. We are happy to work with you,” said Mr Heng Swee Keat, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies of Singapore. In his speech, he emphasized the strong connections between the three pillars: Innovation, sustainability and people for the manufacturing development programmes.
Panel discussions followed, which focused on Intelligent, sustainable, and AI manufacturing. The last session discussed the key steps for building rebalanced and resilient supply chains.
The tailor-made agenda of the EU delegation continued with customized specific guided tours on the exhibition floor to introduce the key Expo highlights, uplifting innovation, and readily accessible solutions.
Delegates separated into two groups and visited 9 shortlisted booths (Getaway to I4.0, Microsoft, Starhub, HP Enterprise, ZEIS, Smartmore, Azbil, Jaka Robotics and Jungheinrich) which featured relevant showcases to address the delegation’s needs. In addition, the Singapore Whole-of-Government (“WOG”) booth was presented, which is set up by the Singapore Government to showcase Singapore as a premier destination for manufacturing. The booth featured Singapore’s manufacturing journey, value propositions, and various upcoming programs in the areas of industry transformation, innovation, talent development, and internationalisation.
The Expo gathered over 200 exhibitors from over 20 countries and regions (including France, Germany, and India). It covered 20,000 sqm, showcasing the latest trends and developments from around the world in three key dimensions: digitalisation, talent and workforce development, and environment sustainability.
Another personalised networking opportunity for the EU delegation was the International Connect zone, which offered industry networking and a chance to explore the creation of potential cross-border business opportunities. The EU delegation has been invited to meet with business partners from Malaysia and India to discuss initiatives for business growth and capability building. It was a good experience to open unexpected relations.
The afternoon agenda continued with more visits on the exhibition floor, as well as attending the Industrial Transformation Forum (ITF) aimed to tackle today’s challenges of implementing technologies in order to: Stay Agile, Stay Efficient, Empower the Workforce to Innovate and add Value and Practice low-impact Industrialisation for the Green Economy. ITF featured global business leaders from key industry sectors, which led to many profound discussions about emerging trends, with many ideas about how business leaders could best use these opportunities in their own Digital Transformation or Implementation.
A very important moment of Day 1 was the Networking dinner organised by Enterprise Singapore and the Singapore Business Federation. EU delegates, Singaporean counterparts’ organisations, as well as representatives of the EU member states in Singapore were welcomed with a fantastic view on the Singapore Marina Bay, having the unique chance to connect to people in businesses from around the world in a more relaxed setting and exchange ideas about what had been discussed throughout the day.
Day 2, 19 October 2022
Day two of the matchmaking event sought to support cluster cooperation for strategic business partnerships, taking advantage of ITAPs international guest list to bring together businesses from around the world.
Clarence HOE, Executive Director, Americas & Europe, Enterprise Singapore, welcomed the participants: “I am very heartened to note that this is the largest delegation that we have received from the EU, with some 30 industry representatives from 25 industry clusters and SMEs across Europe here today covering a diverse range of sectors.”
He reminded us that: “Underpinned by our strong trade and economic ties, Singapore and EU countries are like-minded partners and we have enjoyed warm bilateral relations. (...) This relationship was further strengthened in 2020 through the signing of the Administrative Arrangement between EU industry clusters and Singapore Trade Associations and Chambers (TACs) and Centres of Innovation (COIs). Today´s physical business matching event is a tangible manifestation of this Administrative Arrangement and reflection of the close cooperative relationship between its signatories.”
Ms. Eszter Nemeth, Chargée d'affaires a.i. of the European Union Delegation to Singapore, said: “The EU-Singapore Administrative Arrangement for Clusters Cooperation, signed in December 2020, offers a unique opportunity for clusters and SMEs to foster strategic business partnerships. This builds on the many benefits of the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (EUSFTA) ensuring greater market access. The success of this first in-person EU-Singapore Matchmaking event shows the eagerness of businesses to reconnect, rebuild relations and work jointly towards a resilient post-pandemic recovery. As the world faces multiple challenges, we stay committed to promoting open and free trade to create more job opportunities”.
The opening speeches were focused on building cooperation between the EU and Singapore. SOO Wei-Chieh, Executive Director, Global Division, Singapore Business Federation, presented the Enterprise Leadership for Transformation (ELT) program: “Working with the partners of the ELT program, we positioned Europe as the sustainable business destination for our promising business leaders to consider. This ELT program, run by Enterprise Singapore, is a one-year programme that supports business leaders of promising small and medium enterprises to develop business growth capabilities. We have since received much interest from these promising business leaders who want to venture into Europe.”
Finally, the matchmaking meetings, the core of the mission, could start. The EU delegation had an opportunity to use the business platform provided by the ECCP to meet their counterparts from Singapore in well-planned 20 minutes speed-business-dating slots. Among 110 registered participants, a total of 76 delegates (24 from the EU and 52 from Singapore) held 176 bilateral meetings.
What are the impressions of participants?
Max, Pöhlmann, Project & Cluster manager, BioM Biotech Cluster Development GmbH (DE)
“I think for us, the Asian market is a very important market. We think that Singapore might be a very good point of first entry for a lot of companies. This event gave us a really nice opportunity to come here. Learn as much as we can about the market about the local capabilities about everything that's going on here. It's about getting to know people who can help us or who can help our companies getting access to the market here. And in that sense, I had the opportunity to talk to some people that are just doing that. So, I hope that we can continue our conversation, I'm looking forward to speaking to a lot of people that could help our companies take a little foothold here in the future.”
Loïc Marin , EU Project Manager, CIMES Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (FR)
“I thought it was really interesting - saw that there are lots of opportunities for green technologies in Singapore. And as you know, green transition is something really important in Europe, across the world, but mostly in Europe. And we are part of the Eurocluster project related to green transition of manufacturing companies. So, one of the ambitions was to discover also what is existing in Singapore for green technologies. And I guess it is a success for us because we have met many people that are doing that here”
Jason Tang Wei, Director, Environmental & Water Technology Centre of Innovation (SG)
“We are looking at opportunities to engage with parties that are outside of Singapore, because Singapore is very small. Many people know us as a small little red dot. And the reality is, it is true, we are very small. So, some of our industries are not sufficient to sustain the solution providers. And that's where we work with international parties. Intention [SZ(1] parties don’t have to be from the EU, but generally we look at you because there's a lot of synergies there. Our main focus is on applied research. And we look at not just what can we do for the local companies, but what overseas technologies can also do to support the local infrastructure. And similarly, if we have technologies that overseas companies will be interested to adopt, we are happy to transfer that knowledge, even licensed to them if necessary."
Ian Chew, Founder, Greenie Web (SG)
“The European classes program is very famous in Singapore. And I wanted to take the most of this opportunity to meet members from various EU countries and the clusters that they represent. The main benefit is this visibility for my start-ups. Being a small company, we need to really make the most of our time and our resources. Coming to cluster events like this enable us to get the most out of the time spent and to meet the most people and get the widest reach possible. We've had four very successful conversations already, with many next steps planned both on the BTG and b2b level. And we're really looking forward to the next few conversations I'm about to have."
Cheryl Tong, Chief Executive Officer, Collinson Power Pte Ltd (SG)
“Europe is a really good market with great potential. And I understand that this matchmaking event has had great success in the past. So, when enterprise Singapore introduced this to me, I was more than happy to join. The potential collaborations and the fact that we can better understand what the upcoming new technologies are, as well as the possible market trends in Europe - I think that's a very good part. Especially since there's going to be some of the Eastern European countries that we often do not have access to over here in this part of the world.”
In the afternoon of the matchmaking day, two tracks of site visits were offered, including customised and detailed presentations in:
Jurong Innovation District (JID) - the advanced manufacturing hub prepares our nation for a new era, giving both businesses and our nation a powerful springboard to stay one step ahead.
Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre (ARTC) - a contemporary platform built upon strong public-private partnerships to translate research to industry applications.
Singapore Polytechnic - Advanced Manufacturing Learning Journey (AMLJ) - consisting of three zones, which allows companies to identify the different milestones in the adoption of i4.0 technology and processes.
Singapore Polytechnic - 5G & AIoT (Artificial Intelligence of Things) Centre - develops 5G & AIoT applications that achieve ultra-low latency, high-speed wireless connectivity, centralised real-time monitoring, intelligent control, and data analysis.
With the end of the site visits, the official agenda of the EU-Matchmaking event in Singapore was over, but delegates also had the opportunity to continue with more networking and B2B meetings on Day 3, using the business platform provided by ITAP or directly by visiting booths on the exhibition floor.
Mission accomplished: 3 successful days in Singapore - a unique opportunity to promote Cluster to Cluster (C2C), Cluster to Business (C2B) and Business to Business (B2B) exchanges between the participants.
The Input paper for this matchmaking event presents observations on Singapore’s economic structure, its cluster ecosystems, and initiatives that foster growth and innovation.
To download the paper, please scroll down to the attachments section below. (Please note you need to be logged in before the attachments are displayed).
The participant list is available here.
The proceedings report is available here.
Gallery and other resources
▶️ EU-Singapore MME Event highlights:
▶️ Testimonials about MME and what are the next steps:
▶️ Challenges the clusters face and how the collaboration can help: