The Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI), Digital Industry Singapore (DISG), Smart Nation Group (SNG), Enterprise Singapore (EnterpriseSG), and Google Cloud have on Monday announced various joint initiatives to further accelerate artificial intelligence (AI) adoption across government and industry; cultivate a vibrant ecosystem of AI startups; and build a sustainable pipeline of AI talent, in support of Singapore’s second National AI Strategy (NAIS 2.0).

The parties said in a statement that building on the success of the first iteration of AI Trailblazers, MCI, DISG, SNG, and Google Cloud have announced plans for AI Trailblazers 2.0, an expanded initiative that aims to help up to 150 more organizations in Singapore rapidly build gen AI solutions to address their real-world challenges.

This expanded initiative will feature enhanced Innovation Sandboxes that provide participating organizations with access to Google Cloud’s unified AI stack, as well as support from Google Cloud engineers, at no cost for up to 10 weeks.

For AI Trailblazers 2.0, Google Cloud will also allow these organizations to take advantage of Gemini—Google’s latest and most capable model yet—and Duet AI for Developers, an always-on AI collaborator that helps developers build, deploy, and operate applications faster.

It is noted that since its inception, the AI Trailblazers initiative has addressed over 100 generative AI (gen AI) use cases from 84 organizations across government and industry.

MCI, DISG, SNG, and Google Cloud have spotlighted 43 organizations—including the People’s Association (PA), the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP), GSK, Temus, and TDCX—that have successfully built their own gen AI solutions, with 22 organizations continuing to refine their solutions before graduating from the initiative.

The initiative provided participating organizations with access to Singapore’s first Gen AI Innovation Sandboxes.

Through these Innovation Sandboxes, organizations were able to use Google Cloud’s unified AI stack consisting of high-performance AI-optimized infrastructure, its Vertex AI platform, foundation models, and low-code developer tools, at no cost, to develop their own production-ready gen AI solutions.

“Through this program, participants capitalized on the transformative impact of gen AI and developed applications to improve their business. These efforts will contribute to Singapore’s ambition of becoming a hub for AI innovation,

“With the success of the first AI Trailblazers initiative, we look forward to continuing this partnership with Google Cloud and will announce further details on AI Trailblazers 2.0 soon,” said Philbert Gomez, Vice President and Head, DISG.

Also on Monday, Google Cloud and EnterpriseSG launched Google for Startups Accelerator: AI First Singapore to nurture and support globally-oriented innovators that use gen AI as the core technology to build their products.

This first-of-its-kind public-private startup program aims to cultivate 100 high-potential AI startups over the next three years and scale the reach of their products into new markets.

Applications are now open for the first cohort of 20 startups to join the inaugural three-month program commencing in April 2024.

Selected startups will receive best-in-class technology and resources to fast-track the development and commercialization of proprietary products using gen AI, which include:
– Up to $350,000 in Google Cloud credits upon graduation from the program.
– Access to Google Cloud’s unified AI stack.
– Mentorship and technical project support from Google’s product development teams, AI engineers, and startup ecosystem network partners like Alpha JWC Ventures, Co-Creation Lab, Golden Gate Ventures, Manulife, Red Dragon AI, Touchstone Partners, and more.
– The opportunity to showcase their achievements and connect with potential investors and corporate customers at a Demo Day hosted by Google Cloud and EnterpriseSG.

Through the Google for Startups Accelerator: AI First Singapore program, Google Cloud will partner with EnterpriseSG to offer qualified startups funding support under EnterpriseSG’s Startup SG Tech scheme.

This arrangement will tap Google Cloud’s expertise to expediently assess selected high-quality AI startups who will be able to access Startup SG Tech funding for technology development and business growth.

“As the adoption of AI technologies gains momentum, it is important for Singapore to nurture a thriving AI ecosystem with startups that can push the boundaries in this field with new innovations,” said Soh Leng Wan, Assistant Chief Executive Officer, EnterpriseSG.

According to him, the AI ecosystem can also serve to offer their AI expertise to uplift the growth and capabilities of wider industries.

“Through this partnership with Google Cloud, we aim to give promising startups a boost as they look to pursue AI-related innovation and commercialize their solutions,

“We look forward to deepening our partnership with Google Cloud to support our local players in enhancing their AI capabilities and unlocking new growth opportunities,” he added.

To address the growing demand for AI skills, Google also announced that it is extending an additional 3,000 Google Career Certificate scholarships to local distribution partners – with a focus on upskilling mid-career professionals.

Designed by Google experts, the nine Google Career Certificates span high-growth fields such as cybersecurity, data analytics, and information technology (IT) Support.

In addition to Google Career Certificates, Google Cloud offers introductory level microlearning courses in gen AI that are open to all learners, at no cost.

These courses aim to help them learn the fundamentals of gen AI, how it differs from other types of AI, and how to apply AI responsibly.

“The variety of enterprise-grade gen AI solutions that have been successfully built through AI Trailblazers demonstrate this technology’s ability to help individuals make sense of vast amounts of information and perform daily tasks in ways never before possible, thereby amplifying human talent and acting as a catalyst for human productivity,” said Mark Micallef, Managing Director, Southeast Asia, Google Cloud.

“Our continued collaboration with the Singapore Government on AI Trailblazers 2.0, Google for Startups Accelerator: AI First Singapore, various skilling programs, and the AI Verify Foundation will help organizations access best-in-class resources, tools, and talent to innovate with AI boldly and responsibly,

“As part of our four-pronged strategic collaboration, these initiatives will help advance the government’s goal of uplifting people and businesses and unlocking the country’s next frontier of economic growth,” he added.

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