Fri, Jul 04, 2014 - Page 13 News List

‘HeadStart’ looks to boost nation’s startups

DEREGULATION:A government plan is to ease tax and personnel rules for new businesses and the NDC considers developing a site to provide cheap office space

By Camaron Kao  /  Staff reporter

The National Development Council plans to submit a plan to the Cabinet next week to encourage young business startups, council Minister Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) said yesterday.

The program, HeadStart Taiwan, includes a profit-sharing scheme to encourage local and international venture capitals to work with the state-run National Development Fund to support young Taiwanese entrepreneurs, Kuan said at the Taiwan Economic Summit, cohosted by the Financial Times and Standard Chartered Bank Taiwan.

The one-day conference was held to discuss the policies and strategic responses required for Taiwan to revitalize its entrepreneurialism, its transition into a value-added manufacturer and how it can innovate for new economic growth.

According to the conference’s organizers, the event attracted more than 260 senior policymakers, business leaders, economists and financiers.

During a panel discussion about the progress of the nation’s innovation to maintain international competitiveness, Kuan said many young entrepreneurs lack international connections, so their ideas cannot reach global markets.

Kuan said HeadStart Taiwan’s plan, if approved by the Cabinet, is to deregulate local tax regimes and ease corporate regulations on business startups, as well as relax controls over the hiring of international talent.

The government is also considering building a cluster of startups on the site housing Taipei’s Zhongshan Soccer Stadium, he said, adding that the government plans to provide cheap rent and office space for startups.

Paola Subacchi, research director of international economics at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London, was part of the panel discussion with Kuan, Financial Times Asia editor David Pilling, Asustek Computer Inc (華碩) chairman Jonney Shih (施崇棠) and Schive Chi (薛琦), a former minister without portfolio.

Subacchi said as an export-oriented economy, Taiwan’s prosperity is closely linked to an increasingly interconnected world.

“It is therefore critical for Taiwan to strengthen its edge as a regional innovation hub within Asia, and to increase its international competitiveness,” she said.

In an opening speech to begin yesterday’s conference, Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) said Taiwan needs to “innovate its policymaking, extend its core competitive advantages and create more growth momentum to open up new opportunities.”

To reach that goal, the government will drive innovation and development by focusing on three aspects: Transforming industries for breakthroughs in innovation, opening up the market to embrace the rest of the globe and facilitating investment to encourage innovation and entrepreneurism, Wu said.

In a separate panel discussion on the future of Taiwan as an international financial center and how the country can foster closer ties with trade partners in Asia, Standard Chartered Bank chief executive Peter Sands said that the nation plays an important role in the Greater China region with its strong yuan deposits, close ties with China and Hong Kong, and its sophisticated technology sector.

Additional reporting by CNA

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