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theAsianIR welcomes Budget 2019 measures to help SMEs develop deeper capabilities

· budget,SMEs,grant
  • theAsianIR encourages businesses to leverage Budget 2019 initiatives and incentives for businesses to deepen capabilities and upskill workers.
  • theAsianIR looks forward to partnering with SMEs, SME advisors, Enterprise Singapore and Trade Associate and Chambers to promote a vibrant economy underpinned by sustainable growth.

SMEs will benefit from a set of forward-looking measures to meet our Economy's long-term challenges and address the immediate and medium-term concerns SMEs are facing. Budget 2019 is a continuation of the Government’s strategy to chart a steady course through economic uncertainty.

Transform digitally

SMEs will continue to receive up to 70 per cent of the cost of tools such as cyber security and artificial intelligence. Such help will come under the SMEs Go digital Programme, first announced in 2017.

We will expand the number and range of cost-effective, pre-approved digital solutions that will be supported under SMEs Go Digital to boost technology adoption among SMEs. - Mr Heng Swee Keat said.

"We will expand the number and range of cost-effective, pre-approved digital solutions that will be supported under SMEs Go Digital to boost technology adoption among SMEs," he said.

SME Go digital has already helped 4,000 out of 200,000 SMEs in Singapore to provide basic automation. IMDA has budgeted $80 million to potential beneficiaries over four years starting April 2017. In 2019, IMDA will roll out industry digital plans (IDPs) for accountancy, sea transport and construction sectors. These plans contain a simple easy-to-follow guide to help SMEs assess their digital readiness and explore opportunities to go digital.

Easier Access to Grants

SMEs welcome theAsianIR's help with complex schemes and grants for business transformation. One initiative that theAsianIR has pushed for is island-wide Grant Consulting, to provide dedicated help to SMEs to understand and leverage government assistance, talking to human consultants at the comfort of their offices. Another initiative that theAsianIR has rolled out last year and more so this year, is the outsourcing of proposals and business projections, crafting a compelling story for the SME, under our strict code of conduct.

theAsianIR will continue to raise the awareness of these schemes, working hand-in-hand with SME advisors and Approving Officers, to increase utilisation.

Industry wide support for SMEs

theAsianIR look forward to partner with SMEs to roll out solutions for the benefit of the entire industry. This in turn generate business opportunities for the Solutions Provider, as well as SMES in the relevant sector, to grow together, create better jobs, and wage progression possibilities for Singaporeans.

theAsianIR is already working on a couple of solutions with a wider-scale application. Solution providers can benefit in increased orders, because their solutions, when recognised by the Government, will be eligible for subsidies when adopted by other SMEs. The business results that this sort project generates is tremendous.

Improved access to financing

The Automation Support Package (ASP), announced in Budget 2016, will also be extended by another two years until March 2021. Under the scheme, more than 300 SMEs had better access to loans for qualifying projects, with the Government sharing risks with participating financial institutions and jointly providing up to 70 per cent of the cost of technology projects.

The ASP supports firms to deploy impactful, large-scale automation such as robotics, Internet of Things solutions and other Industry 4.0 technologies. - Mr Heng said

Government means business when it comes to reskilling

Lowering of the Service Sector Dependency Ratio Ceiling (DRC) is a strong signal from the Government of the importance of maintaining its current policy on foreign workers, so that Singaporeans can continue to enjoy meaningful and well-paying jobs in the future. theAsianIR shares the concerns of the Government that some of our industries are not exhibiting strong productivity growth and are not restructuring fast enough.

But adjusting the DRC appears to be a forceful move. theAsianIR hope to see leniency in its enforcement as there are many service sectors that always have lower productivity and are always facing local skill and manpower shortages. Nonetheless theAsianIR will do its part to provide productivity consultancy to SMEs, to alleviate the impact of the DRC.

Trade associations and chamber of commerces play a critical role

Trade associations and chambers (TACs) are key enablers in enterprise upgrading and industry development. They play a more proactive role in helping companies enhance their competitiveness and capture new growth opportunities.

Local Enterprise and Association Development (LEAD) programme is a five-year roadmap, where subsidies are endorsed and approved by Enterprise Singapore (ESG) and Singapore Tourism Board (STB), to enable TACs to take a longer-term and strategic approach in driving industry transformation. SMEs and MNCs can propose to their relevant TACs and collaborate with TACs to receive support of up to 90%. Models of multi-TAC partnerships include collaborations within and across industries, or consortiums where larger TACs step up to take the initiative to engage and support smaller TACs to work towards common outcomes.

Companies need to find a certified management consultant to submit the proposal.

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