Good morning and a happy World Intellectual Property (IP) Day.
Every year on 26 April, 193 member states of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) celebrate today, World IP Day. Why and what for? Well, it’s to celebrate the important role that intellectual property rights play in encouraging innovation and creativity.
IP and Youth: Innovating for a better future
This year’s World IP Day theme is IP and Youth: Innovating for a better future.
We have many young entrepreneurs and startups with incredible ideas and I have met many of them over the course of my time in the private and public sector. Let me share a few examples.
a. Dr Ling Ka Yi of “Shiok Meats” co-founded the cell-based crustaceans startup in 2018, along with Dr Sandhya Sriram.
b. For her efforts, Ka Yi has earned many recognitions:
• MIT Tech Review’s “Innovators under 35 in Asia” 2020,
• “Women and the Ocean: Changemakers” Challenge 2020,
• Great Women of Our Times 2020 by Women Weekly, and
• Gen T list 2020.
At the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) and the National Youth Council (NYC), we don’t just encourage youth to turn ideas and conversations into practical impactful actions, we get behind them to help. Let me pitch this to you if you already don’t know how.
We have a programme known as the Youth Action Challenge. We’ve had three seasons of Youth Action Challenge (YAC) thus far, and we’re going into season four later this year. We had more than 700 youths forming more than 170 teams pitching innovative ideas to tackle societal issues and challenges and myself and some of you here have had the opportunity to sit in and listen to some of the pitched ideas. I remember a few, from the YAC Season 2:
a) We had Sabrina and the Calm Collective Asia for example that focuses on Mental Health and Mental Wellness;
b) Skillio, which is all about upskilling; and
c) Urban Origins.
They built their own digital platforms and programmes to help their specific target audiences and we continue to work with them on many of these areas. It is not simply about pitching. If it is a good idea, we fund you, guide you and we start to incorporate your idea into the eco-system if possible.
Currently, you are at the heart of Somerset Belt – a dedicated physical space for our youths to prototype ideas on causes that are important to them – it could be the arts, it could be the community, it could be the environment and it could also be sports.
For example, if you are a student from any of the Institutes of Higher Learning and if you are studying urban planning or architecture, you can bring your studio ideas to life, here at the Belt, and receive feedback on whether these ideas can be implemented on the ground. This is a valuable experience in how ideas could be applied in the real world. We also give youths funding support to realise ideas, including a gamified application by Somerset Makers’ Market, film screenings, e-sports tournament, drone racing, and virtual music festivals.
Here at *SCAPE, we dedicate ourselves to be a leading innovation and startup node to help grow our local entrepreneurship, e-sports and music community. Some of our local musicians are represented here. If you are keen to pursue your startup ambitions, you can join HubQuarters – *SCAPE’s very own co-working space where you get to hang out with a community of more than 60 startups who are trying out new ideas and plans for their products and services with low start-up risks. Youths can also join *SCAPE’s Creative Fellowship. It is an accelerator programme that turns ideas into creative businesses, with a focus on the Creative Arts, Media and Entertainment, as well as Entrepreneurship and Careers.
Our youths are becoming even more entrepreneurial in their journeys. In our surveys, more than one in four indicated interest to launch or join a startup when they graduate. And about two in three had created their own content for personal use.
What is the challenge there? The challenge is that a majority of our youths shared that when they create something, they don’t know how to protect it and I think that is quite critical in this world.
Supporting You in Your Innovation Journey
In line with this year’s World IP Day theme, I wanted to give youth the assurance of the Government’s commitment to provide an enabling environment for youth to innovate and create.
So please take advantage of the many different Government schemes, to help you conceptualise your ideas and bring them to market.
Last year, we launched our Singapore IP Strategy (SIPS) 2030 to develop Singapore as a vibrant innovation and IP hub. Why is SIPS 2030 important?
Under SIPS 2030, IPOS will equip youth and our future workforce with the IP skills and knowledge you need to thrive in a digital world that is driven by two things, intangible assets (IA) and intellectual property (IP).
IPOS will help youth acquire IA/IP skills across industry sectors, including the creative sectors for them to protect what they create.
a) We also want to ensure that the IA/IP skills acquired are recognised. IPOS and SkillsFuture Singapore are working together to integrate IA/IP skills and competencies into relevant job roles and career maps.
b) For tertiary-level students, we want to raise awareness of how IP plays a central role in innovation and entrepreneurship. One of the programs you may be keen on, is called the Future Leaders in INnovation Transformation (FLINT). FLINT has benefited over 600 students from more than nine Institutes of Higher Learning.
If you’re reading law, you know how helpful it is to get practical exposure to real life IP issues. That’s why IPOS launched the Mentoring IP Leaders (IP MILE) programme last year. It provides law students with opportunities to be mentored by participating law firms during IPOS’ IP Legal Clinics. One of our participants from SMU, Ian Ng, got to experience first-hand how to tease out a client’s main IP concerns, ask effective questions and provide legal remedies while taking into account commercial considerations. It’s not just the legal side, but also the commercial side and it is not so easy as you have to balance both. When I was in the private sector, it was quite challenging, as how do you manage the legal requirements while not constricting the commercial considerations.
c) If you are an aspiring IP mediator, there is also a program for you, the Young IP Mediator (YIPM) initiative. It provides top students in NUS and SMU an opportunity to observe real-life IP mediation. Many of you know that Singapore is working to become a global IP dispute resolution hub. In December 2020, we had our first case of a YIPM, Utsav Rakshit from NUS. Utsav took part in a successful multi
jurisdictional mediation case that was resolved after eight hours.
IPOS also works with partners to promote the importance of IP for our youths. In conjunction with World IP Day, the Copyright Licensing & Administration Society of Singapore (CLASS) is launching a video competition today, to encourage youth to embrace literary work and raise awareness on the importance of copyright.
As we commemorate World IP Day, do take advantage of the exciting events we have lined up this week.
a. I look forward to the Youth Panel Conversation on IP that will begin shortly after this. We have an incredible line up of panellists – Benjamin Kheng, Sabrina Shiraz, Louis Liu and Benjamin Cheong.
b. They will share their respective angles on what IP means to them and it helps bring it to life, instead of IP as something that is a little difficult to grasp. You will get to hear from a business leader, content creator and young entrepreneur, so ask them as many questions as you can;
c. Our public officers can also benefit from learning about IP issues in co-innovation with the public through crowdsourcing at the 15th Community of Practice on IP Management;
d. Young inventors, creators and entrepreneurs can learn about WIPO’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) services at the WIPO ADR Young in Asia webinar.
We have over 700 participants signed up for the various World IP Day activities. I encourage everyone, especially our youth, to continue thinking creatively, expanding your horizons.