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NUS Pro-Chancellor sows ideas for future economy

30 August 2012

U@live forum moderator Mr Viswa Sadasivan with Mr Ngiam
How do we go about seeding Singapore's economic future? How do we ignite the spirit of wealth creation in the minds of our young? These were the thought-provoking questions raised by NUS Pro-Chancellor Mr Ngiam Tong Dow at this month's U@live forum.

"My modest proposal is for the Ministry of Finance to extend a S$100 million grant to the Economic Development Board to invest in the equity of 100 knowledge-based companies germinated in our four, soon to be six, universities and six polytechnics," said the former Permanent Secretary (Administrative Vice-Minister) of the Ministry of Finance and the Prime Minister's Office of the Government of Singapore.

To compete with the giant BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) economies, the ministry should continue seeding the economy through the sharing of risk via equity participation alongside private enterprise, he said.

As for wealth creation, Mr Ngiam believes that "our universities and polytechnics are the only strategic assets that we have" as the core role of tertiary institutions is to teach and impart knowledge. He suggested encouraging final-year students to form project teams within or across faculties to propose viable businesses using new or significantly improved technology and processes.

After his talk, Mr Ngiam responded to questions from the 200-strong audience. These included his leadership philosophies, his views on the leadership challenge for Singapore and the case of having more university graduates versus skill-based talents.

A monthly event, U@live features illustrious members of the university community who have been indefatigable in championing causes that make a difference to the world. Spearheaded by NUS alumni and the Office of Alumni Relations, the forum is also webcast live to the student population on campus.