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How To Unlock The Innovation Potential Of Singapore’s Small Businesses

By Eric Tan | April 29, 2022

Small businesses in Asia are harnessing technology for transformation and growth. Two health-tech start-ups from Singapore are leading the way in innovation.

While COVID-19 has laid bare the vulnerabilities of healthcare systems across the globe, it has also brought to the forefront many health-tech start-ups that have revolutionized and pushed the boundaries on healthcare innovation. From telehealth to remote patient analytics, COVID-19 has normalized the use of digital solutions in our everyday lives to transform healthcare norms and accelerate the growth of patient-first healthcare experiences. With Singapore's healthcare market expected to grow to $49.4 billion by 2029, innovation in healthcare is critical streamlining processes and capturing new resulting opportunities.
To support and encourage small businesses in their journey, FedEx collaborated with Forbes Asia for the 2021 edition of its Small Business Grant Contest (SBGC), an annual program recognizing small businesses and start-ups with novel business solutions that seek to address some of the world’s most pressing issues.
Among the four 2021 winners from among the region’s leading emerging entrepreneurs across industry sectors were two Singapore-based health-tech start-ups: a medical software company, and a genetic testing company Nalagenetics.

Leveraging AI for remote heart check-ups

Picture2-Unlocking the innovation

Based in Singapore but with a global B2B customer base, SBGC 2021 winner, founded in 2017, is making it possible for doctors to get more accurate readings of their patients’ hearts with automated echocardiograms. Regular echocardiograms are a highly manual process, with a cardiologist taking 30 to 40 minutes to assess the readings. Studies have shown up to 20% variability in results from this highly error-prone process, even among trained doctors. is automating the fight against heart disease by using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to simplify and democratize the ultrasound of the heart. By automating data interpretation of echocardiograms,’s solution can help doctors diagnose heart conditions more efficiently, consistently and accurately. The company offers its services via the cloud, on premises, and even via handheld mobile devices to ensure that everyone has access to high quality, consistent and inexpensive echocardiograms. As the grand winner of SBGC 2021, the grant has opened up possibilities for to expand their services outside of Singapore to the United States and Europe.
“SBGC 2021 has given us opportunities to pursue growth and supported our plans to introduce our software into hospital systems worldwide. At the same time, leveraging on the reputation of FedEx as a trusted brand and ally, we gained credibility and market validation – two key success factors in our future expansion plans for the company,” said James Hare, co-founder and CEO at

Democratizing genetic testing

Picture3-Unlocking the innovation

Medical technology company Nalagenetics, founded in 2016, is exploring new frontiers in healthcare by providing affordable and actionable end-to-end genetic testing relevant to the local populations. They partner with providers by providing a clinical decision support system with the best imputation performance, interpretation, and recommendations for diverse populations
The company has also developed a suite of solutions for personalizing nutrition, screening, and prescription to prevent diseases. As a winner of SBGC 2021, the grant will help Nalagenetics conduct market research in other parts of Southeast Asia, including Malaysia and Thailand, to further understand the needs of their target audiences and unlock future opportunities for product development and innovation.

The FedEx commitment to setting up small businesses for success

Innovative startups like and Nalagenetics are testament to the limitless possibilities of how small businesses can contribute to society through innovation and strong support from industry networks. With the grant from SBGC, Nalagenetics intends to conduct market research in other parts of Southeast Asia, including Malaysia and Thailand, to further understand the needs of their target audiences and unlock future opportunities for product development and innovation. is looking forward to obtaining regulatory approvals in various parts of the world by leveraging the SBGC network for market recognition, in order to democratize access to automated echocardiograms for healthcare facilities and institutions.
As a leader in enabling trade and a strong advocate for small and medium businesses, FedEx supports their growth momentum through constant innovation and technology-driven solutions. Our solutions for contactless delivery, robust global networks and cutting-edge technological capabilities are some of the many ways we keep critical supply chains moving and empower small businesses as they navigate their way in today’s challenging environment.
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About the Author
the author bio

Eric Tan

Managing Director,
Singapore, FedEx Express

Eric joined FedEx in 2001 as a Senior Manager in Operations and is now Managing Director for the Singapore region. He is based in Singapore and is also responsible for South Pacific Regional Hub operations there.

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