SINGAPORE: The Trade and Industry Ministry (MTI) on Monday announced a series of measures to enhance support for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to restructure and achieve quality growth.
The additional support arises from a review of strategies for the SME sector.
The review started in April last year in close partnership with stakeholders from the SME community.
They aim to enhance assistance for SMEs to transform their businesses and help them overcome some of the key challenges that they are facing.
Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Teo Ser Luck made these announcements during the ministry’s budget debate in Parliament.
He said SMEs can look forward to enhanced support in three focus areas.
Firstly, more support will be provided in the areas of productivity, innovation and capability upgrading.
Like the new SME Talent Programme which has been introduced to attract talent from the Institutes of Technical Education (ITEs) and polytechnics to work in SMEs upon graduation.
Secondly, to help SMEs seek new business growth opportunities, assistance programmes to encourage internationalisation and promote collaboration between larger enterprises and SMEs will be enhanced.
MTI said SMEs looking to grow their business overseas can get easier and faster help with the new Market Readiness Assistance Grant (MRA Grant).
SMEs accessing markets can tap the grant to get advice from pre—approved consultants on areas like market assessment, market entry and business restructuring through internationalisation.
Lastly, the government will work towards creating a more conducive business environment by simplifying SPRING’s assistance schemes for SMEs and enhancing the existing Enterprise Development Centres (EDCs) into one—stop, integrated SME Centres.
Mr Teo said: "The SME sector is an important pillar of Singapore’s economy. They contribute more than 50 per cent of economic output and 70 per cent of employment. The review of the development strategies for our SMEs aims to help them strengthen their business competitiveness. I urge all SMEs to invest in skills upgrading, new technologies and innovative processes, and to tap on the various schemes available to step up productivity improvements. The government will support our SMEs in their move to intensify their business transformation to achieve quality growth."
There are nearly 145,000 SME businesses in Singapore.
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