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A*STAR obliges SMEs with tech licensing programme

Posted: 11 Mar 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:A*STAR? SME? Headstart?

A*STAR is granting royalty-free and exclusive IP licences for the first 18 months to local SMEs that collaborate with the agency.

Launched officially under the Headstart programme at the recently held Committee of Supply Debate 2014, the initiative aims to encourage more SMEs to adopt existing technology, as well as participate in research and development to create their own novel products and solutions.

A suggestion from the Singapore Business Federation's SME Committee (SMEC), on top of feedback from the SMEs themselves, gave impetus to Headstart. A*STAR said that about 700 SMEs that have undertaken close to 2,200 projects with it over the past five years found that they needed more time to develop the technology in order to reap the commercial benefits.

Philip Lim, CEO of ETPL, the technology transfer arm of A*STAR, said: "The terms of the Headstart programme were specifically tailored for our SMEs in mind, to empower them to launch the development of new products and services. In the drive for productivity improvements and quality growth, R&D and innovation are key differentiators for our SMEs. We are confident that this initiative will spur more and deeper public-private partnerships."

Since September 2013, Headstart has received keen interest from local enterprises in areas such as electronics, infocomms and precision engineering. One such company is Psiber Data, which designs and manufactures handheld and portable test and measurement devices in the communication infrastructure industry.

It signed an RCA with the agency to leverage the expertise of researchers from the Data Storage Institute (DSI) to develop a product which is able to identify the connectivity of optical fibre cables, as well as the start and termination of the fibre. The tester is also able to provide value-added features such as optical fibre channel link map characterisations, allowing the company to perform more comprehensive checks to reduce server downtimes for customers.

Local SMEs have engaged in an increasing number of technology licences and RCAs with A*STAR due to SME outreach platforms such as the Growing Enterprises through Technology Upgrade (GET-Up), and the Technology Adoption Programme (TAP). TAP was the most recent programme to be introduced in July 2013. Close to 200 companies from industries such as aerospace, food manufacturing, marine, retail and precision engineering have adopted technologies in areas such as visual imaging, RFID and the "Internet of Things".

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