Singapore announces the creation of a new unit to support startups
Singapore has announced the creation of a new unit to support startups. It will be led by Steve Leonard, executive deputy chairman of Singapore’s Infocomm Development Authority.
SG-Innovate is a new agency to connect entrepreneurs with industry mentors, VCs and research talent.
The unit will work with public and private sector leaders in the Singapore ecosystem to help build companies in key sectors such as finance, energy and health.
National Research Foundation will be in charge of the unit and will help startups build products out of research findings. Singapore wishes to help translate innovative technologies from the research phase into start-up and onwards into commercial success.
The unit’s first tie up has been announced with the central bank, Monetary Authority of Singapore, to advise startups on FinTech – financial technology – funding.
The FinTech Office will also review existing schemes across governments, and propose new ones to fill the gaps. It will also market Singapore as a “FinTech hub”. The office will be co-managed by Leonard and the bank’s Chief FinTech Officer, Sopnendu Mohanty.
Are You Ready For Brexit?
A lot of uncertainty still lingers in the air about what might happen either on or especially after the currently scheduled date for Brexit. At the time of writing, there are only weeks left to go, and quite a few SMEs are worried about their business futures. This kind of unpredictability without an obvious outcome makes it very difficult to plan things.
There are several crucial points you should consider as you do the best you can in getting your business ready for Brexit. First of all, do all you can to make sure that your supply chain is protected. Talking to everyone involved in your supply chain needs to be your top priority. Learn what they’re doing to make sure that they can continue their service consistently. Supply chain failures are debilitating to small business since even a single breakdown or late delivery can be quite an impedance. If you don’t have customers getting their services or products on time, then it’s you facing the consequences and not your suppliers.
Everyone involved in your current supply chain has to be aware of Brexit. They should each be coming up with their own plans of dealing with the possible outcomes so they can keep delivering consistent service levels in the near future. If you’re a small business owner, then you need to think about every step of your supply chain. Don’t wait until after Brexit to start talking to your current suppliers. Do it now. A proactive approach is usually better than a reactive one, and it means you have a chance to get a step ahead of possible complications, as well as enjoying more time to handle issues that pop up along the way.
If you have any chain suppliers that aren’t ready, especially if it’s multiple ones, then consider switching. Suppliers unwilling to talk about their Brexit contingencies or those expressing any reservations about keeping their service levels up might be parties you need to walk away from. Knowing all of this in advance gives you a lot more time to talk to other options and compare the possibilities, which means you hopefully find good alternatives that can take care of you well, no matter how Brexit turns out.
Another step in the proactive approach is making sure that you have more stock physically held inside the UK. This can be a great move if you typically rely heavily on EU imports. Good stock levels will allow you more preparation time to find alternatives if supplier relationships deteriorate after Brexit. Domestic stock stores mean you can keep your company running even after Brexit, no matter what shape it takes. You shouldn’t wait for Brexit to find out that your own stockpiles are insufficient to meet demand since your suppliers have wound up letting you down. Start your planning now about growing your own stock, since it means paying a bit more upfront in order to cover additional inventory costs. Stay on top of all payments owed and invoices, so you can be sure that your cash flow is strong enough to increase your current stock levels.
When my own business was far smaller, our biggest difficulty was just getting paid. We were not in the business of e-commerce back then, so we simply relied on our clients paying their accounts. The larger a customer was, then the more we’d boost their account limit in order to keep them happy. On the other hand, if someone chose not to pay, or just couldn’t, then we suffered a lot. This is a possibility to keep in mind since your own clients might choose to protect themselves from the pending impacts and influences of Brexit.
The departure of the UK from the EU is going to impact quite a few companies across many industries, so you have to be sure that your current client base is making on-time payments. If not, you might wind up not having the necessary funds to boost your stock if clients are delaying payments in order to handle their own concerns about Brexit.
Look into the possible changes in regulations. Put in some time learning about any possible regulation changes which might impact your company or just those working for you. There are many different possibilities that could take place once Brexit happens, and knowing what these possibilities are ahead of time gives you a way of making preparations and looking into feasible solutions. There have already been minor amendments to government health and safety regulations as the country gets ready for Brexit. These mainly relate to just removing EU references, and many aren’t actually changes to legal protections and requirements. Then again, there are other potential regulation changes that might impact things like cross-border travel and trade between EU countries and the UK. SMEs are likely to find it worth their time to read up on the regulations which apply to their sectors so they know the potential circumstances if the UK winds up leaving the UK. Keep up to date with VAT news with VAT global.
The potential circumstances include a ‘no-deal’ scenario, which would be the default position should no agreement be reached. A deal might be renegotiated around a backstop position, but there might even be a totally renegotiated deal via an Article 50 extension. Also, a general election or second referendum might even leave the UK in the EU.
Above all else, keep in mind what your business is specifically good at. Do what you can to make sure that you keep doing just that moving into the future, no matter which Brexit outcome takes place. Your business fundamentals aren’t likely to change, so maintain your focus on your customers and meeting their needs.
This applies to your staff just as much as your consumers too. You need a passionate team that results in your success. You need employees that buy into the vision and story of your company. You need people that come into work just because they want to, not just to get a paycheck to avoid starvation and eviction from their homes.
There’s no telling which outcome Brexit will wind up taking, but as we get closer to the actual day of reckoning, things will get clearer. Take a proactive approach so that you’re not only ready for the consequences of Brexit, but possibly even in position to take advantage of the new reality looming over all of us. It really is the only way to go in this uncertain time of pending change.
Vijayawada becomes first city in India to Deploy Smart and Electric Waste Disposal System
Waste management is an important requirement for ecologically sustainable development. From densely populated cities to smaller rural communities, waste management systems keep our homes and communities free from unwanted clutter.
Government of Andhra Pradesh is first in India to adopt smart and electric waste disposal vehicles in the city of Vijayawada. The state’s Chief Minister, Mr Nara Chandra Babu Naidu inaugurated the deployment of pollution free electric auto-rickshaws with advanced hydraulic disposal system on 11th July 2017 at AP Secretariat. The vehicles have been supplied to the government by an electric vehicle manufacturing start-up, Gayam Motor Works.
Although these waste management services exist in nearly every community, the current operating standards have proven inefficient and highly resource-intensive. This inefficiency is largely due to outdated manual collection methods and logistical processes which lack efficient data-driven solutions.
“The city’s waste management system can now be monitored from a single location by officials at Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC). This initiative transforms public space waste management with mobile and cloud-connected system. Our fleet of electric vehicles communicates real-time status to software systems. Communities benefit from optimized & streamlined operations, beautified public spaces and reduced carbon footprint.” said Mr J Nivas, Commissioner of Vijayawada Municipal Corporation.
With integration of new generation technology, municipal supervisors can now track several aspects such as waste pick up points, vehicle routes and disposal alerts from a single dashboard. This will improve per vehicle productivity, reduce non-compliance, and eliminate manual tracking for monitoring and escalation.
Replacing diesel autos with electric autos also mean zero fuel consumption and zero greenhouse gas emissions. Each diesel auto replaced will reduce about 35 tons of carbon emissions over a period of five years. As much as 200,000 tons of carbon emissions can be reduced by replacing 5000+ municipal disposal vehicles across the state with electric vehicles.
The running cost is now reduced from Rs.3.50/km to Rs.0.50/km, by replacing a diesel auto rickshaw with a GMW SmartAuto. It is with this forethought, the state government plans to scale these smart and electric vehicles to other municipalities in the state.
The state government has earlier deployed 100 electric bikes in the city of Visakhapatnam. It is very clear that the state is looking at aggressive state-wide electric vehicle deployments to enhance the urban experience without negative aesthetic and environmental impact.
About the Startup
Gayam Motor Works (GMW) produces most advanced Electric Bikes and SmartAutos. GMW was founded in 2010 with a vision to accelerate the world’s transition towards smart and sustainable mobility. The company is first in India to develop indigenous battery swapping technology for electric vehicles.
Gayam Raja (CEO) did his Bachelors in IIIT-H and Masters in University College of London. Raja comes with more than 7 years of experience in automobile manufacturing and exports. He has opened up trading and sourcing relations with partners from 15+ countries. He exported more than 4000 vehicles to Asian and African countries.
Gayam Rahul (CTO) completed his Integrated Masters in Physics from University of Hyderabad (HCU). He worked in US in the clean energy space with companies such as Sun Electronics and Smith Electric. He developed commercial electric vehicles from scratch with industry leading features such as integrated cooling system, Quadra-Drive system (patented), smart-BMS battery monitoring system, which are essential for a future-proof design. He is currently working on developing ceramic super-capacitors which have the potential to replace batteries in electric vehicles, and have the added advantage of being charged in a few minutes instead of a few hours.
Sri Harsha B (COO) studied in reputed institutions such as IIIT-H and Stanford GSB. He comes with more than 6 years of experience in business development and marketing. He was part of the founding team for two internet start-ups. He is an active member in many start-up communities such as Startup Leadership Program, Founder Institute, and TiE.
This Startup wishes to redefine the landscape of the home decor market in India
The concept of “Home decor” is rather old and the Northern Black Polish Wares dating back to 2000 BC suggests the existence of the concept even during the Indus Valley Civilization. However, Home decor approaches have evolved in various time periods drawing inspiration from various cultural milieu and other socio economic factors. Modern generation too has different needs of aesthetic engagement and in order to fulfill the needs of the millenials, various Startups are taking the lead.
Founded by Natasha Jain and Neeraj Jain, Bent Chair is an eclectic decor brand that custom designs an array of contemporary furniture and funky fitments, from design innovation and re-interpretation to material selection and caters to the needs of the clients having contemporary design needs. Bent Chair focuses on bringing to its clients affordable luxury with a universal appeal.
Bent Chair was born from a passion for innovative and progressive design. The vision of bringing engineering, technology and high design to consumer’s lifestyle was the inspiration to bring the brand alive.
Today, Bent Chair is the brand behind the interiors at well known restaurants like Lord of the Drinks (entire chain), Tamasha (Delhi & Mumbai), Teddy Boy (Pune & Delhi), Lazeez Affaire (Delhi) and South Hall (Delhi).
However, like every other Startup, giving life to this brand has been full of challenges. For the founders of Bent Chair, the biggest challenge has been to showcase to the customers how their product would look and feel in reality. It requires detailed images and mood shots to fully convey the look and feel of the products. Also, another major challenge is to create high quality design while maintaining the cost.
Bent chair recently launched a new collection called The Lokalferi Line as well as a studio in Delhi.
They decided to launch an offline studio to provide shoppers with an experience of the high design and high quality furniture and accessories, which in turn helps shoppers to be sure of what they are spending on.
In order to truly make the brand Omni channel they have also tied up with Franchise India to target at least 25 franchises over the next 7-8 quarters. Currently Bent Chair is a self-funded enterprise.
About the Founders
Natasha Jain is the Co-Founder at Bent Chair. Her passion for designing and fore-vision for technology marked the inception of Bent Chair. In her present role she is accountable for fortifying the company’s portfolio, and creating long-term value in a high potential and innovative design market.
Her vision with Bent Chair is to revolutionize people’s home and living spaces by bringing everyday design alive with a quirky twist at affordable prices.
She has worn many hats and her acumen in business has always been her forte, which is one of the key reasons of success and growth behind all her ventures. She started her career with her family business where she was responsible for operations and supply chain management of four major manufacturing plants that resulted in acknowledging and shaping her entrepreneurial capabilities. Her insights have played an instrumental role in managing the much-successful Fresh Mentors initiative that she founded in 2012. Fresh Mentors is an online college-mentoring platform that helps students get live one-to-one video interactions in the form of thirty minutes video chats. Her last stint was Ruplee in 2014 an avant-garde payment app designed to ease the way we pay. Ruplee signifies substituting cash with smartphones so that one never has to carry their wallets again.
Natasha holds a masters degree in Management Science Engineering from Stanford University.
Neeraj Jain is the founder of Bent Chair and a seasoned industrialist with more than 35 years of experience and wide business perspectives in manufacturing and design industry.
He holds a rich experience at seeding businesses. His expertise includes creation and implementation of business models and business performance frameworks. He has formulated and lead implementation of a comprehensive strategic framework across his business ventures to deliver long-term values. Previously he has successfully spearheaded the growth of Labomed, a globally renowned medical devices brand. Over the past few years, Neeraj has been involved with the development of several cutting edge factories and restaurants.
He is the only Indian to be honored thrice with Red Dot Award – an internationally recognized awards for quality label for excellent design.
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