Tip of the Iceberg: Innovation and Tech in this Year of Innovation

ISSUE #67 – Julien Condamines (pictured below), Entrepreneur in Residence at the French Embassy in Singapore, shares with us about this Year of Innovation with a zoom on tech, and the events to come in this final lap.


You have been recruited to work for the 2018 France-Singapore Year of Innovation. What do you think of this year thus far?

It’s been an amazing ride! I must admit that I didn’t anticipate it would have such an impact on deepening already excellent relationships between France and Singapore. But beyond the high profile events and the fuss – the visible part of the iceberg – discussions have been running in the background on long-term projects and collaborations that will impact our nations for decades. This was made possible by the focus given by the Year of Innovation to institutional and government leaders from both sides, enabling important visits from delegations in France and Singapore, allowing a deeper study of the stakes and prioritising each other’s agendas and the incredible support of local enablers such as the French Chamber in Singapore and the Embassies.


Tech is certainly one of the key areas of collaboration. Could you tell us about some of the collaborations in tech?

First I think it’s important to define what tech means. In our case, there are at least 2 important sides of it: business and research (that eventually work together to make wonders). And the Year of Innovation has had a tremendous impact on both. On the start-up side, La French Tech, which represents the tech entrepreneurs, the business side of it, has known a terrific growth in Singapore. In particular, awareness has grown on the Singaporean side, after we collaborated with many of the institutions interested in the matter: EDB, IMDA, MTI, Entreprise Singapore, ACE, SGInnovate, leading to a better valorisation of the French entrepreneurs in Singapore, and giving birth to projects like the investor’s syndicate. Singapore has also launched its own version of La French Tech, so to speak, choosing France as one of their Global Innovation Alliances. This makes Paris an official landing pad for Singaporean entrepreneurs and students, and builds a tangible bridge for French entrepreneurs to expand their business in South East Asia.

On the research side, a lot happened too. After the seminar on innovation policies organised during the VivaTech week, new collaborations were formalised between universities and research institutions from both countries, as well as co-funding agreements. BPI and EDB/Entreprise Singapore in particular have decided to co-finance innovation projects focusing on developing innovative products and applications in technological and application areas such as Advanced Manufacturing, Clean Technology and Medical Technology.



Any interesting events in the final lap of the Year of Innovation to highlight?

Definitely! SWITCH is indeed around the corner, and with it the French Tech Tour led by Business France, bringing 8 scale-ups looking into setting foot in South East Asia. Our Ministry of State for Digital, Mounir Mahjoubi, will also be present on the 18th, meeting with a vertiginous number of interlocutors leading digital in Singapore and visiting the conferences. And La French Tech Singapore will be an official partner of the Deep Tech Summit organised by SGInnovate, featuring a few French Speakers like Dr Cyrille Schwob, the CTO of Airbus Asia and Pierre Robinet, the Founder of Live with AI. Last, InVivo Quest, along with So France and Agorize and L’Oréal both organise start-up contests, one in food tech and the other one on beauty & cosmetics. Dense programme!

After SWITCH, Thales will organise an event on aerospace and defense. The FinTech festival will feature its lot of French disruptors and les Rencontres Economiques will close this year on very strong notes. And we’re waiting eagerly for some announcements that, hopefully, will make for another article.



Interview with Julien Condamines, Entrepreneur in Residence at the French Embassy in Singapore

Published in FOCUS Magazine — Issue #3 2018 “The Innovation Issue