Agreement links U of T and NUS in ‘international entrepreneurship highway’

The first cohort of nine students from NUS arrived in Toronto in August as part of the work and study program in innovation, boosting the ranks of local startups as full-time, paid interns while also taking part-time coursework and being mentored at U of T.

A second cohort will arrive in Toronto in January 2019 and by the winter of 2020, the first group of U of T students will be travelling to work and study in Singapore These exchanges are all part of a reciprocal agreement signed Wednesday in Singapore that paves the way for the two universities to collaborate as global hubs for talent, cutting-edge research and startup businesses.

“For Toronto, this is our moment,” says Christopher Yip, U of T’s associate vice-president of international partnerships. “We are booming in all sorts of ways, in no small part because of the AI revolution and the number of startups here that are making the city more and more attractive to new businesses and investors.

“Singapore is an innovation hub and a city-state that has really invested in higher education, research and entrepreneurship,” he adds. “It’s also well-situated for any startup that is interested in expanding into Asian markets.”

U of T and NUS have a long history of co-operation and the new agreement is being facilitated by the Singapore Ministry of Trade & Industry and the Canadian High Commission.

The agreement gives students from both universities the opportunity for on-the-ground experience with startups and running a business while developing networks in both cities.

One of the hoped-for outcomes is that over time, Toronto startups will open offices in Singapore and vice versa as a result of the collaboration, Yip says.

“It’s a win-win not only to develop our students but also a relationship ecosystem between Toronto and Singapore.”

Over the years, more than 75 per cent of all U of T inventions have been co-developed by students, both undergraduate and graduate, and post-doctoral researchers.

As well, U of T offers more than 170 courses focused on entrepreneurship and innovation and is home to nine startup accelerators and related resources.

The partnership with NUS is “absolutely critical” to U of T’s ambitions to establish similar international entrepreneurship highways with places like Silicon Valley, China and India, says Yip.

Source & feature image: University of Toronto

Read the full announcement here.