Amra & Craig
Accelerating Asia's Co-Founders, Amra Naidoo and Craig Dixon

The Australian Government announced on Thursday, June 6 that it will partner with Accelerating Asia, a regional network of startup programs, to develop a Singapore-based ASEAN Smart Cities Accelerator (ASCA). ASCA is a first of its kind seven-month startup accelerator programme which is designed to provide the best possible support for early-stage Southeast Asian startups specialising in future city development, an initiative supported by Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

ASCA is a seed-stage accelerator program that selects, funds and provides a development programme for smart city startups in Southeast Asia through access to regional opportunities, knowledge, networks, and resources. The programme is split into two parts beginning with a three month program period with weekly activities in Singapore and followed by four months that consists of remote support, a Demo Day as well as a one-week immersion trip. Women entrepreneurs are vital to the success of this programme and are encouraged to apply.

Amra Naidoo, Co-Founder of Accelerating Asia said "Two-thirds of the world's population will be living in cities by 2050, according to the United Nations' recent report on global urbanisation in 2018. This creates many challenges in terms of sustainable development, especially for cities in the ASEAN region."

"Smart solutions such as ride-hailing super apps, AI-powered transit planning, data-driven disaster assessment and advanced green-building techniques are proliferating in the region. We believe startups are uniquely positioned to tackle the challenges that these cities face today and in the future. By working closely with cities and government agencies, our objective is to foster a collaborative and progressive ecosystem that we hope will expedite the development and deployment of sustainable smart cities in Southeast Asia, while creating better connected, more resilient cities that work for everyone," added Amra.

The programme is looking for pre-seed or seed-stage startups from all ASEAN member countries that already have a product or solution and a viable user base. Their focus should be geared towards addressing problems related to sustainable development and improvement of city living.

Selected startup founders will be entitled to the following benefits:

  • A structured schedule of impactful sessions including workshops, mentorship meetings, and investor events
  • S$40,000 equity-free investment
  • Access to top quality mentors, investors, and founders including an Entrepreneur in Residence, who will work closely with them throughout the programme
  • Office space in the city centre of Singapore during the programme
  • Benefits from partner companies including Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services, Hubspot and Stripe

"We are looking for next-generation solutions that can be scaled across growing urban populations that can improve livelihoods through new business, career and economic opportunities and more importantly improve access to safe and affordable housing, public spaces, infrastructure and transportation. Other key qualifiers include a measure on environmental impacts, resource management and general public accessibility," said Craig Dixon, Co-Founder of Accelerating Asia.

"We wish all applicants well and look forward to working with them to further the cause of sustainable and smart urban living in the region."

"The ASEAN Smart Cities Accelerator is a big step in the right direction toward making the vision of smart cities into reality," said Australia's High Commissioner to Singapore, His Excellency Bruce Gosper.

"The Australian High Commission is proud to support the programme and will continue to actively work with Accelerating Asia to leverage all the opportunities this programme offers to regional startups."

Applications are now open until 4 August 2019 with a programme start date set for 30 September 2019. The programme's inaugural Demo Day will take place on 6 February 2020. Interested parties may contract Accelerating Asia for more details at team@acceleratingasia.com or check out ASCA official website at http://aseansmartcity.com/