Singapore launches Smart Port Challenge 2021

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The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and NUS Enterprise, the entrepreneurial arm of the National University of Singapore (NUS), have announced the launch of Smart Port Challenge (SPC) 2021 under the Port Innovation Ecosystem Reimagined @ BLOCK71 (PIER71) accelerator programme designed to grow Singapore’s maritime innovation ecosystem.

Technology start-ups are invited to submit proposals for consideration in the five categories of Smart Port; Smart Ship; Crew Safety, Training and Wellbeing; Smart Maritime Services and Logistics; and Green Technology.

Shortlisted start-ups will gain access to PIER71 Accelerate, a six-week market validation and customer discovery programme; PIER71’s global network of partners, mentoring, workshops and masterclasses; the opportunity to win top three cash prizes of S$10,000, S$5,000 and S$3,000 respectively; as well as continued entrepreneurial and technical support beyond SPC. Finalists are also eligible to apply for MPA’s MINT-STARTUP grant of up to S$50,000 to pilot their projects.

Now into its fifth year, SPC has supported close to 60 start-ups to date through PIER71 Accelerate – including seven start-ups from last year’s SPC that have been awarded MPA grants for prototype development and test-bedding, bringing the total grant funding disbursed to past PIER71 start-ups to about S$2 million. Over the next 12 months, these start-ups will collaborate with PIER71’s maritime corporate partners on pilot projects in areas including autonomous robotics, vision analytics, virtual reality, AI and others.

Joining PIER71 for 2021 are three new Venture Capital partners: IMC Ventures, Motion Ventures and MOL PLUS. Maritime technology start-ups will be able to tap on S$30 million of potential funding from these individually managed funds and benefit from the wealth of maritime and entrepreneurial expertise available.

Mr Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Transport, said, “While Maritime Singapore has remained resilient during the pandemic, we should ride on this momentum to build even stronger capabilities and position ourselves to grow further and be ready for the future.

“Innovation in the area of maritime technology (Marinetech) will be key. Marinetech is a fast-growing area with a promising future. Singapore is well-placed to develop this sector as we have strengths in both maritime and technology. By bringing together problem statements and solutions for the maritime sector, Smart Port Challenge has become a key pillar of our efforts to develop a strong Marinetech sector in Singapore.”