In new intiative, S’pore govt throws in money to build more co-working spaces
April 4, 2012 by Terence LEE
Several co-working spaces like Hackerspace, Smartspace, FounderHQ and Kennel have emerged in Singapore over the past few years, in a nod to the country’s increasingly entrepreneurial and nomadic workforce.
The Singapore government has now also recognized the changing behavior of its workers. In a groundbreaking new intiative, it is issuing out grants to develop the next generation of shared work spaces and home offices.
Dedicated home offices would allow employees with families to better juggle their work and home commitments. For those who find working from home impossible, “Smart Work Centres” would be set up around the island to give employees a shared office nearby.
The government eventually hopes to persuade employers to buy-in to the concept, letting them work outside while reporting to the office occasionally.
Employers can benefit from this initative. According to the press release, “flexible work arrangements can contribute to better staff attraction and retention as well as improved productivity and enhanced access to a larger manpower pool that includes economically inactive persons.”
Based on the documents provided by IDA, it does not appear that the government is explicitly promoting the development of co-working spaces, which have a different nature from shared offices due to their open and collaborative arrangement, allowing workers from different backgrounds to mingle and share ideas.
But the flexibility is there, it seems, for applicants to submit proposals to build bona fide co-working spaces.
This “Call-for-Collaboration”, as they call it, is a part of the Next Generation Services Innovation Programme, which aims to “support the development of next generation broadband services and applications”. These new work spaces will presumably involve the use of Singapore’s Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network.
The Call-for-Collaboration will consist of two tracks. Parties can submit proposals to either develop home-based work offices or smart work centers.
For the smart work centers track, a consortium may consist of: A smart work centre operator, which will act as the lead, an ICT company, a user organisation (the employer), and providers of additional professional services.
For home offices, the requirements are similar, except that a smart work centre operator isn’t needed.
Existing co-working spaces and shared office operators can use this initiative as an opportunity to provide their expertise and expand their business. All they need is to rope in a few of registered startups and form a consortium.
In the near term, this program could eventually benefit entrepreneurs seeking affordable work spaces, as they would have more options to choose from.
At this point though, it’s unclear how much funding will be awarded to successful applicants. For those who are interested, you can attend a public briefing on 10th April 2012. More details on the event, as well as the scheme in general, can be found on the IDA website.
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About The Author
Terence LEE - Editor
Terence writes mainly about technology trends and startups in Asia. He believes in crafting smart content: Not just a regurgitation of text, but well thought-out pieces that serve the reader using a combination of data, design, narratives, analysis, and visual impact. His articles have been published on Venturebeat, Yahoo!, Straits Times, Today, and The Online Citizen. He also co-founded NewNation.sg, a satirical news site covering Singapore affairs. Engage him on LinkedIn and Twitter.Read other posts by Terence LEE