Singapore agencies, Google Cloud rally around national AI strategy

Image courtesy of Smart Nation Group

Various joint initiatives to further accelerate AI adoption across government and industry in Singapore have been launched through cooperation among the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI), Digital Industry Singapore (DISG), Smart Nation Group (SNG), Enterprise Singapore, and Google Cloud.

These initiatives are also intended to 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).

Building on the success of the recently completed AI Trailblazers project, MCI, DISG, SNG, and Google Cloud also announced plans for AI Trailblazers 2.0 — an expanded initiative that aims to help up to 150 more organisations in Singapore rapidly build generative AI solutions to address their real-world challenges.

This expanded initiative will feature enhanced Innovation Sandboxes that provide participating organisations 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 organisations 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.

In addition, Google Cloud and EnterpriseSG launched Google for Startups Accelerator: AI First Singapore to nurture and support globally-oriented innovators that use generative 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 commercialisation of proprietary products using generative AI.

Through this 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 AI startups who will be able to access Startup SG Tech funding for technology development and business growth.

Finally, 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, bringing its total commitment to 13,000 scholarships. 

Designed by Google experts, the nine Google Career Certificates span high-growth fields such as Cybersecurity, Data Analytics, and IT Support. They can be completed within three to six months through flexible, self-paced online training, with no relevant experience required. 

Graduates from these courses have seen positive impact in their careers, with several learners pivoting into AI-related roles. 

“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 at Google Cloud in Southeast Asia. 

“Our continued collaboration with the Singapore government…will help organisations access best-in-class resources, tools, and talent to innovate with AI boldly and responsibly,” said Micallef.