A NEW collaborative workspace was unveiled in Prinsep Street on Tuesday, with plans for it to provide affordable real estate to entrepreneurs, creatives and techies, as well as to be a facilitator, fund manager and ecosystem builder for startups.

Called The Hub Singapore (THS), the 8,000 sq ft space is a good 60 per cent larger than the old Hub, which had been in Somerset since 2012. The facility has 140 co-working and permanent desks, eight team rooms, three meeting rooms and event spaces that can hold up to 200 people.

The 500 "Hubbers" who use the space - 220 of whom are early-stage to mature-stage companies in tech, consulting, education, art and media - pay S$320 to S$720 a month for a hosted workspace environment.

Anchor tenants include New York-based online news site Mashable and homegrown startup Our Better World.

THS will support its network of startups by launching an Investor-in-Residence programme, which will offer startups the opportunity to pitch to and be mentored by the region's top 10 venture capital fund managers, and to receive funding. It will also build on its Hub Alumni Fund, which has already amassed S$300,000 in pledges from angel investors and successful Hubbers.

At its launch on Tuesday, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam noted the global potential for entrepreneurship, citing a growing middle class of 600 million people. He said: "Despite regulations and customs, the Internet has made it possible for entrepreneurs to provide services across borders to people. There are many disruptive technologies that can come in and which can appeal to a consumer-oriented market."

THS co-founder and chief executive Grace Sai told The Business Times that in the next phase, THS will focus more on collaborations across the ecosystem. It hopes to pair corporates with entrepreneurs, creatives and techies to come up with innovations; companies on board include Procter & Gamble, JPMorgan and DBS Bank. THS is also reaching out to the government, venture capitalists, investors and media partners.

Asked how the space differs from the JTC LaunchPad in one-north in Ayer Rajah Crescent, now known as Singapore's startup hub, she replied that THS has a dedicated team that procures opportunities for collaboration for its member companies, and gives them access to shared human resource, legal and accounting services. She added that THS is the first facility here to offer the option of a purely-online membership for businesses that do not need physical workspace.

This article first appeared on The Business Times, read the full article here