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Premier vows full support for startups to lead new economy

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Premier Su Tseng-chang received a briefing Thursday from the National Development Council (NDC) on the Asia Silicon Valley Development Plan. He urged central and local governments to work together in strengthening investment and collaboration mechanisms between corporations and startups, encouraging procurement of startup products to boost government efficiency, and creating a startup development platform that provides comprehensive support from funding and talent to ecosystems and regulations.

The Asia Silicon Valley Development Plan's two primary objectives are to develop the internet of things and upgrade Taiwan's innovation and entrepreneurship environment. If Taiwan is to continue growing its economy, it must cultivate startups, the premier emphasized. The nation boasts a comprehensive technical supply chain, outstanding scientific and technological talent, as well as rigorous regulatory protections for intellectual property and cybersecurity. It also ranks among the world's best for its excellent open data environment. All of these advantages benefit the development of Taiwan's startup businesses.

Thirty-three years ago the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) was merely a startup company, but now its burgeoning market value has made it one of the 10 most valuable companies globally. With nearly 4,000 budding startups currently in Taiwan, the government will do all it can to nurture more flagship enterprises like TSMC that can guide Taiwan's growth into the future, Premier Su said.

Cooperation among larger enterprises and startup firms is widespread internationally, the premier said. Investment in and acquisition of startups by big companies introduces outside innovations and drives the upgrade of industries overall. Because startups require capital and support at every stage, the government has already made available NT$10 billion (US$338.9 million) in angel investment and NT$60 billion (US$2 billion) in youth entrepreneurship loans to encourage the formation of startups with new approaches and good development potential.

According to the NDC, one of the main objectives of the Asia Silicon Valley Development Plan is to promote innovation and entrepreneurship. The past four years under the plan have produced clear results, including NT$3.28 billion (US$111.2 million) in funding for 103 firms provided by the Business Angel Investment Program and its partners, and special COVID-19 relief investment of NT$2.44 billion (US$82.7 million) to help 143 startups weather the pandemic. Additionally, 872 employment gold cards for highly skilled foreign professionals have been issued so far, representing a 2.5-fold jump since the same time last year.

On the legislative and regulatory front, many government actions have assisted startup firms take huge steps in developing new services. These include 10 amendments to the Company Act, the approval of 13 innovative projects for regulatory sandbox experimentation, and the facilitation of 32 cases through the Startup Regulatory Adjustment Platform. The NDC will work with the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Ministry of Science and Technology and 10 other ministries and agencies over the next four years to promote startup development, investing NT$10 billion (US$338.9 million) to nurture even more flagship startup firms to carry forward the growth of Taiwan's innovative new-economy industries.

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