The Singapore government is to allocate $14.7 million (S$20 million) to launch itself as a major funding center for the entertainment industry.

The announcement was made on Wednesday by S Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information, at the opening ceremony of the Asia Television Forum.

The money will be used as seed capital that sits alongside “top tier media funds that set up and invest out of Singapore.”

Partner companies are expected to have track records in media finance and have fund management capabilities, as well as a regional, Southeast Asian brief.

The funds are expected to be genre and technology agnostic and can be applied to production facilitation, access to talent, and co-production projects.

The number and value of each allocation has not been specified, though relevant sources suggested that only a handful will be retained, in order to ensure that each has significant finance top have an impact. The first round of partner funds is expected to be announced in the first half of 2020.

Similarly, the ministry is understood to regard the S$20 million allocation as a first step that will be repeated and enlarged with other funding rounds, if the first is deemed as successful.

Other official sources said that applicants will be carefully scrutinized for strategy, execution potential and market circumstances. That is because a previous Media Development Authority initiative to partner with local funding structures ended unfortunately, and the ministry is determined to learn lessons from the past.

Iswaran said that the country is no longer pushing the make it in Singapore narrative of old, so much as “a make it with Singapore” axis.

“Southeast Asia is more than a market. There are exciting Asian stories here. Technology meets media here. And East meets West,” said Iswaran.