The Singapore government has been trying to coax its citizens to become bolder, take the financial plunge and embrace the spirit of entrepreneurship. It is all part of the grand economic plan to 'remake' Singapore and move the country from a capital-driven economy to an innovation-driven one as it faces increasing competition from India and China. But entrepreneurs cannot be 'manufactured' and the government is facing an uphill battle to change the local mindset, still dominated by the risk of failure and the stigma of bankruptcy. Earlier this year, Raymond Lim - the Minister for Trade and Industry and Foreign Affairs - was appointed 'entrepreneur tsar'. Since then, the former economist has been busy changing policies, cutting red tape, engaging a public versus private-sector debate and helping to improve the access to funding for businesses. And it has not been all talk; policies have been quickly implemented to push the pro-business efforts forward. Newspapers regularly promote success stories, like graduating students taking the plunge to open hawker stalls, and hammering home the fact that success can come to those who take a risk. Media darlings like Creative Technology chairman Sim Wong Hoo and Kenny Yap, of ornamental fish-breeder Qian Hu, regularly impart their wisdom and experience. Still, for all these efforts, local mindsets are hard to change. The case of Chia Shi Teck is typical. Once one of Singapore's most lauded entrepreneurs and a former member of parliament, he has been declared bankrupt. He has highlighted a fundamental problem: while you are on the rise, people will support you, but trip and fall and you can become persona non grata overnight. In a newspaper interview, Mr Chia described how he was due to receive an award for his work as president of the Singapore Scouts Association, but promptly got a notice asking him not to attend. His message is not encouraging for people who want to start a company, especially at a time when the number of bankruptcies continues to rise. Latest figures from the Insolvency and Public Trustees' Office show that individual bankrupts rose 25 per cent on an annual basis, to 450 last month, while total bankruptcies discharges fell 43 per cent to 112, a sign that it is becoming harder to get out of bankruptcy. The government has revised bankruptcy laws to allow for a greater tolerance of risk-taking and failure. It has raised the amount of debt that must be incurred, from S$2,000 (HK$8,900) to $10,000, before a winding-up petition can be brought against a company - but changing people's attitudes cannot come from a top-down approach. As Mr Lim recently acknowledged, the government can create the 'hardware' for entrepreneurship, but it can do little about the 'software'. But in a country where a hotline has been set up for 12-year-olds because they are too stressed about their impending school exams and what failure will mean for the rest of their life, Singaporeans still have a long way to go before failure is accepted as simply part of the process.