Advance your business with Open Innovation
19 June 2018

Open Innovation (OI) involves looking beyond your company's capabilities and engaging in partnerships with external parties to expand your business's technology and market reach. Your new collaborators could bring in new ideas during a creative block and pool their experience with yours to make better-informed decisions.

"Working with other enterprises lets both parties optimise their resources, sharing operating and R&D costs."

One prominent example of successful OI rests in the iPhone we have come to rely on every day. Although the Apple device is a technological wonder on its own, it is the ingenious third party apps that truly make this smart phone smart.


Educational institutions are similarly jumping aboard the bandwagon, with NTU’s Open Innovation Labs providing budding entrepreneurs with a platform, training opportunities and facilities that allow them to explore their ideas.

"Even big corporations and government agencies today believe in supporting SMEs towards open innovation."

We've handpicked a list of initiatives that could benefit your business.


SPRING offers the Collaborative Industry Projects (CIP) tailored specifically towards local SMEs looking to collaborate. As such, co-innovation projects between businesses can be supported by up to 70% funding from the CIP. To qualify for funding, a collaboration between at least three small businesses is required.


Startup Grind is a Google initiative that connects smaller businesses to mentors and each other. It spans 80 countries, including Singapore, regularly conducting events like talks in which accomplished entrepreneurs share their experiences and advice with startups.

The organisation also hosts parties in which entrepreneurs can relax, network and get to know others in their industry in a more laidback environment. Possibly the most exciting and potentially career-changing event in Startup Grind is its annual Global Conference Programme, in which 50 of the year's most promising SMEs world over are invited to feature in a Silicon Valley conference that boasts giants like Facebook and Google itself.


Microsoft's BizSpark is another venture that encourages collaborations by offering businesses free resources, including $120,000 worth of Microsoft's Azure, their cloud computing platform. The three-year program gives SMEs of less than five years free access to certain Microsoft services and software, so they can utilise highly efficient tools for free and spend their budget on innovative collaborations.


TechInnovation is a local initiative by the Intellectual Property Intermediary (IPI) that conducts an annual 'Discover, Connect & Collaborate' event. Directed toward the technology industry specifically, the event promises talks by business leaders like OSIM International's Chief Technology Office Tan Kia Tong, networking events and highly informative exhibitions. The event is a must-go for startups looking to connect and grow with like-minded businesses.


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