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Women in Business: Promoting Australian Technology

Posted By AustCham Singapore, Monday, 7 March 2016

Gemma Manning, Founder of Gemstar

Tell us a little about your story and how you came to Singapore?
I am a born and bred Sydney-sider who is passionate about business and how focussed strategic marketing can alter the fortunes of businesses. It was through my work with my first company, Sydney based marketing firm Manning and Co, that I really got to discover the opportunities in Singapore.

We were being approached by many Australian technology companies asking for advice on investing in the Asian market. I could see there was an opportunity to explore this area further and the idea for Gemstar was born. With the willingness of the Singaporean Government to invest in emerging technologies it made sense to base the company here.

Can you tell us briefly about your role and its main purpose?
My role is quite broad but essentially aims to partner up-and-coming Australian businesses, mostly in tech, and helping them with their strategy, marketing, network and funding. We connect them to complimentary businesses for collaboration, trade and/or investment. We chose Singapore as our main market due to its encouragement of startups, focus and commitment to innovation and the openness of business people, government and corporates to collaboration.

What gives your organisation a point of difference?
Gemstar has been described as unstructured accelerator or facilitator which goes some way to explain how we approach business. We believe in tailoring our approach to suit the needs of each individual client.

We learn about our clients’ businesses and formulate a tailored roadmap for them to find scale and growth. We take a true interest in our clients as partners in their journey; they all become part of the Gemstar family and want to see them succeed as business owners.

What do you believe are the biggest opportunities for Australian technology company’s in Singapore today?
Singapore offers significant untapped potential for Australia’s tech sector and it is the perfect gateway to the region. I personally believe that we need to do more to educate the tech sector in Australia, and Gemstar is aiming to do with various partners and other stakeholders over the next 12 months. Singapore is aspiring to be the Silicon Valley of Asia – a world-class technology hub of excellence.

As part of this, Singapore is aiming to attract the best-of-the-best technologies and innovations that tackle certain global challenges such as urban density, aging population, healthcare, mobility and sustainability. Australian tech companies that can assist in these areas are well-equipped to capitalise on existing opportunities. Singapore’s relentless drive to achieve its Smart Nation vision is amazing to see in action.

We are championing Singapore and South-East Asia, and happy to talk to anyone who wants to learn more about the opportunities that exist and how to tap into them. The time is now.

What do you believe are the biggest challenges facing the tech industry in Singapore?
One of the challenges of striving to become a world class technology hub of excellence is dealing with the sheer volume of ideas and start-ups and the constantly improving solutions that the market offers. That being said, Singapore has committed to innovation with the knowledge that it can often be a moving feast.

Do you have advice for other Australians wanting to make the move to Singapore?
Singapore is a wonderful place which has a thriving, multicultural feel, fast-moving business environment, beautiful food and climate. I love the proximity of Singapore to Australia and the rest of Asia and Europe.

What do you think an individual needs in order to be successful in Singapore?
An open mind that can think a little left field at times as well as a strong network. Flexibility and nimbleness is key to succeeding in a fast-moving, environment like Singapore.

As is collaboration; I feel very fortunate to have made some wonderful connections with some great Australians during my time in Singapore. I have been able to come together with those partners and associates to really drive Gemstar’s vision.

We are well on our way to achieving our mission – more great Aussie tech companies in Singapore and Asia!

This article is published in our Access Asia magazine Feb/Apr 2016 issue.

Tags:  Australia  Business  Entrepreneurs  Incubator  Singapore  Technology 

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