Abbreviations and acronyms. Most countries have theirs, but few can match Singapore’s love for the alphabet soup. “Blk71” – short for Block 71 and pronounced as such – owes its name and Singaporean identity to this predilection.

Established in early 1970s as part of the Ayer Rajah industrial estate, Blk71 is one of the oldest industrial buildings in Singapore serving the light manufacturing industry. By 2010, Blk71, together with a few blocks within this industrial estate was slated for demolition to make way for re-development.

However, in 2011, NUS Enterprise, SingTel Innov8 and the Media Development Authority of Singapore collaborated to turn Blk71 into a start-up hub. The intention was to pull together the technology start-up cluster, which was previously dispersed around Singapore, to one common location, for increased synergy and economies of scale. With this development, Blk71 rapidly transformed from an old, deserted industrial estate into a thriving start-up hub.

With the intention to consolidate the previously dispersed entrepreneurial community in Singapore, the three parties set about retrofitting the dilapidated building with new amenities and technology infrastructure, and worked hard to pull together fellow entrepreneurs in the information & computer technology as well as interactive digital media areas.

BLOCK71 Singapore, managed by NUS Enterprise, was thus set up as the heart of Blk71, to spearhead and catalyse activities.

Blk71 has quickly become a beacon for the community and is now home to hundreds of tech-related start-ups, venture capitalists and incubators occupying its seven storeys. In recognition of the success of Blk71, the Singapore government has since expanded the programme, rebuilding Blk73 and renovating the space in Blk79 to house more start-ups and entrepreneurs to develop this entrepreneur enclave.