Mr González was hosted by NUS Enterprise CEO Dr Lily Chan, who gave a presentation on Blk71’s inception and the entrepreneurial programmes conducted by NUS Enterprise. She also highlighted initiatives such as Modern Ageing Singapore and InnovFest Unbound.
Two guest speakers — Mr Evan Cheah, Director of the Singapore Cooperation Enterprise; and Mr Chong Choon Leong, Senior Manager of ITE Education Services (Middle East, Africa and Latin America) gave the Costa Rican delegation an overview of their respective organisations.
Mr Cheah explained how the Singapore Cooperation Enterprise has helped governments worldwide as a “one-stop shop” for those wanting to tap on expertise found within Singapore’s public sector. Mr Chong presented on the ways ITE Education Services has enabled other countries to develop innovative vocation-based training modelled on Singapore’s Institute of Technical Education system.
During the short question-and-answer session following the presentations, the Costa Rican guests were keen to know about the educational landscape in Singapore and the tertiary-level options available. They also wanted to find out how Singapore had identified the industries it should develop.
Costa Rica recognises the leadership of Singapore and how it has developed a diversified and knowledge-based economy, said Mr González. The Central American country, like Singapore, also relies on human capital as a pillar of its economy.
“Until now, we don’t have much experience...in start-ups or creating the entrepreneurial mindset. We need to have our young people being not just job seekers but job creators,” explained Mr González.
The visit ended with a tour of Blk71 facilities including Plug-In@Blk71, which is jointly hosted by NUS Enterprise, Media Development Authority Singapore and Singtel Innov8.
Mr González subsequently gave a lecture at Yale-NUS College titled “Costa Rica: Disarmed Democracy and the Rule of International Law” on 11 March.