Growing A Vibrant Maritime Entrepreneurial And Innovation Ecosystem Through PIER71

Launch of Smart Port Challenge 2018 To Catalyse Greater Innovation and Digitalisation In The Maritime Industry


Singapore, 6 June 2018: PIER71 – Port Innovation Ecosystem Reimagined @ Block71 – was officially launched today by Dr Lam Pin Min, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Health. The Smart Port Challenge (SPC) 2018 was held in conjunction with the launch of PIER71. Both the launch of PIER71 and SPC were organised as part of Innovfest unbound 2018 . In the spirit of encouraging innovation, four MOUs were also signed at the event, to provide start-ups with more support in their innovation journey.

Launch of PIER71
2 PIER71 is an industry-wide acceleration programme that supports innovation and encourages the maritime industry to venture into new growth areas through collaboration with technology start-ups. Set up by MPA and NUS Enterprise, the entrepreneurial arm of the National University of Singapore, PIER71 provides a platform for foreign and local companies, start-ups, venture capitalists, and mentors to exchange knowledge and form organic partnerships. It will contribute to building a vibrant maritime entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem, as envisioned by the Sea Transport Industry Transformation Map, and sharpen Singapore’s competitive edge. 
3 PIER71’s first innovation workshop, run by MPA, was for a cohort of digital officers from 23 maritime companies. The workshop, which successfully concluded on 15 May 2018, covered the development of systematic processes for identifying and quantifying innovation opportunities, and equipped digital officers with the skills to translate innovative ideas into tangible outcomes for maritime companies. 
4 To provide start-ups with more opportunities and access to resources such as mentors and networks, NUS Enterprise also extended its support to PIER71’s start-ups by signing four new MOUs with start-up hubs INNOSPACE and Rainmaking Innovation, as well as maritime companies Wärtsilä and Wilhelmsen (See Annex A for more details on the MOUs). This is in addition to an earlier MOU with PortXL to provide start-ups with market access in Rotterdam and Singapore.
5 Mr Andrew Tan, Chief Executive of MPA, said, “The launch of PIER71, in collaboration with NUS Enterprise, is part of the MPA’s broader innovation strategy under the Sea Transport Industry Transformation Map (ITM). PIER71 will catalyse collaborations between the maritime companies, technology start-ups and adjacent sectors to position Singapore’s maritime industry for the next wave of growth enabled by digital technologies. Together with the setup of MPA, PSA and Jurong Port Living Labs for the test-bedding of new technologies and new concept of operations, we hope to position Singapore as a vibrant and innovative maritime hub.”
6 “The PIER71 programme opens a new chapter for NUS Enterprise,” said Dr Lily Chan, CEO of NUS Enterprise. “Building on the foundation that NUS Enterprise laid in spearheading the start-up ecosystem, we are now fostering strategic partnerships to help bridge and provide platforms for our curated start-ups to engage with the flagship maritime industry and create opportunities for innovation driven growth."
Smart Port Challenge 2018
7 PIER71 also kicked off this year’s SPC – a six-month programme that aims to catalyse digital transformation in the maritime industry by bringing together maritime and technology players to work on identified problem statements. Like other start-up incubators and accelerators, the SPC consists of three phases: challenge statement formulation, funding support and product realisation.
8 Last year’s inaugural SPC saw 12 maritime companies participating. Seven start-ups – Brightree, Glee Trees, MyBot, SG Smart Tech, Simplus, Trabble and Xjera Labs – received grant support totalling $311,598 for test-bedding and developing prototypes with the Singapore Shipping Association, Jurong Port, BatamFast and Kanlian.
9 The number of maritime companies participating and contributing innovation opportunities in SPC 2018 has increased to 17 this year and PIER71 expects a total of about 200 participants. Besides cash prizes of $10,000, $5,000 and $3,000 for the top three proposals, selected finalists also stand a chance to be invited to join PIER71 ACCELERATE, a customised curriculum on building viable maritime tech start-ups, and receive a further grant of up to $50,000 from MPA to develop prototypes with maritime companies. These innovation opportunities will be released on 6 June during Innovfest unbound, and the closing date for proposals is 6 August 2018. All local and foreign start-ups are encouraged to participate in SPC 2018. 
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About the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA)
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) was established on 2 February 1996, with the mission to develop Singapore as a premier global hub port and international maritime centre (IMC), and to advance and safeguard Singapore's strategic maritime interests. MPA is the driving force behind Singapore's port and maritime development, taking on the roles of Port Authority, Port Regulator, Port Planner, IMC Champion, and National Maritime Representative. MPA partners the industry and other agencies to enhance safety, security and environmental protection in our port waters, facilitate port operations and growth, expand the cluster of maritime ancillary services, and promote maritime R&D and manpower development.
About the National University of Singapore (NUS)
A leading global university centred in Asia, the National University of Singapore (NUS) is Singapore’s flagship university, which offers a global approach to education and research, with a focus on Asian perspectives and expertise. 
NUS has 17 Faculties and Schools across three campuses. Its transformative education includes a broad-based curriculum underscored by multidisciplinary courses and cross-faculty enrichment. Over 38,000 students from 100 countries enrich the community with their diverse social and cultural perspectives. NUS also strives to create a supportive and innovative environment to promote creative enterprise within its community.
NUS takes an integrated and multidisciplinary approach to research, working with partners from industry, government and academia, to address crucial and complex issues relevant to Asia and the world. Researchers in NUS’ Faculties and Schools, 30 university-level research institutes and centres, and Research Centres of Excellence cover a wide range of themes including: energy, environmental and urban sustainability; treatment and prevention of diseases common among Asians; active ageing; advanced materials; risk management and resilience of financial systems. The University’s latest research focus is to use data science, operations research and cybersecurity to support Singapore's Smart Nation initiative. For more information on NUS, please visit 
About NUS Enterprise
NUS Enterprise, the entrepreneurial arm of the National University of Singapore (NUS), plays a pivotal role in advancing innovation and entrepreneurship at NUS and beyond. It actively promotes entrepreneurship and cultivates global mind-sets and talents through the synergies of experiential entrepreneurial education, active industry partnerships, holistic entrepreneurship support and catalytic entrepreneurship outreach. Its initiatives and global connections support a range of entrepreneurial journeys and foster ecosystem building in new markets. These initiatives augment and complement the University’s academic programmes and act as a unique bridge to industry well beyond Singapore’s shores. For more information, please visit
For media queries, please contact:
Fouziah A Rahim (Ms)
Corporate Communications Department, MPA 
DID: (65) 6375 1852 Email:
Carol Lo (Ms)
Marketing & Communications, NUS Enterprise
DID: (65) 6516 1003 Email:
Annex A – Memorandums of Understanding signed at launch of PIER71
NUS Enterprise-INNOSPACE MOU to enhance cooperation through exchange of resources and start-ups in Singapore and China
The MOU between NUS Enterprise and INNOSPACE will allow both parties to jointly scout for start-ups in China and Singapore. Both parties will also share resources and allow start-ups in PIER71 and INNOSPACE to access each other’s mentors, networks, programmes and activities. In addition, the collaboration widens the deployment opportunities of PIER71 curated start-ups in China and vice versa. 
NUS Enterprise-Rainmaking Innovation MOU on supporting venture building activities in Singapore
With the MOU, NUS Enterprise and Rainmaking Innovation will be collaborating to attract and anchor venture building activities focusing on the maritime and logistics sectors in Singapore. This is part of Rainmaking Innovation’s ambition to build a dedicated “Transport Venture Studio” in Singapore. This collaboration will be supported by existing initiatives under NUS Enterprise and Rainmaking Innovation including PIER71 in Singapore and Pier47  in Denmark; and will in addition to venture building provide an additional avenue for PIER71 to help curated start-ups with market access opportunities in Denmark and elsewhere. As a first and concrete step, PIER71 and Rainmaking Innovation will be collaborating on a “venture exploration program” in Singapore tailored to leading maritime and logistics companies.
NUS Enterprise-Wärtsilä MOU to provide mentorship in maritime communication for start-ups
With the MOU, Wärtsilä will support PIER71 with their maritime expertise in areas like ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore connectivity solutions in Singapore, Germany and Finland. Wärtsilä will also spearhead seminars, lead workshops, and provide mentorships to the curated start-ups as well as the start-up communities in Singapore and strengthen the development maritime communication related applications. Meanwhile, NUS Enterprise will support Wärtsilä in establishing their networks with the start-up communities in Singapore.  
NUS Enterprise-Wilhelmsen MOU to develop potential solutions for the shipping and maritime services industry
Through the partnership, PIER71 will provide outreach platforms for Wilhelmsen to share their knowledge of shipping and maritime services with the start-up ecosystem in Singapore.  PIER71 will also review proposals submitted by start-ups or students in relation to problem statements posted by Wilhelmsen for the shipping and maritime service industries.