ICV scheme to get $10m boost

January 27, 20144:50 pm417 views
ICV scheme to get $10m boost
ICV scheme to get $10m boost

SINGAPORE – Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have been given an extra $10 million boost to put their business improvement plans into action.

The Innovation and Capability Voucher (ICV) scheme will be enhanced from March 1, bringing the total amount set aside to $42 million, the Government announced on Monday.

In a joint press statement from Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and Spring Singapore, the Government said that the scope of ICV will be expanded beyond consultancy services to support implementation of solutions in the four capability areas of innovation, productivity, human resources development, and financial management.

The enhancement results from feedback to the Government through the SME Workgroup that SMEs may not necessarily require consultancy services to diagnose a problem or propose solutions, it added.

With the enhanacement, SME owners, who want to implement solutions to meet business challenges but face resource constraints, will find it easier to take the first step towards capability upgrading.

Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck said: “We have been actively engaging the SMEs through different platforms, including the SME Workgroup outreach sessions. Expanding the scope of the ICV is a response to their feedback and will help SMEs, especially heartland businesses, further their productivity improvements. SMEs are encouraged to leverage this enhanced ICV to continue to enhance and transform their businesses.”

To encourage more SMEs to take their first step to upgrade, the enhanced ICV will cover the implementation of recommendations from business consultations, as well as direct procurement of solutions in the four capability areas. This way, they can better manage costs, raise productivity and efficiency, and strengthen their business operations to achieve sustainable growth.

Under the existing ICV, SMEs can apply for vouchers each valued at $5,000 for redemption of consultancy services provided by pre-approved service providers under the four capability areas.

With the enhanced ICV, SMEs can implement solutions from the categories of (i) equipment & hardware; (ii) technical solutions; (iii) professional services and (iv) design & renovation. Each SME may apply for a maximum of two vouchers to implement solutions out of the eight vouchers which it is currently eligible for under the existing ICV. The maximum cap of two vouchers per capability areas for consultancy services remains the same.

Skylace Language School is a SME which has taken its first step towards improving its business productivity by utilising ICV. The school employs 14 teachers and operates five enrichment centres which offer Chinese enrichment classes for children. It also provides training service for teachers.

Through an ICV (Productivity) project, Skylace conducted an overall business diagnosis on its management and key business operations and identified areas for improvement. These areas include improving its retention strategy, streamlining its processes and better management of data for greater competitiveness in the market. With the enhanced ICV, Skylace may implement solutions like software programmes for streamlining its existing processes and creating a centralised database for ease of information management and marketing purposes.

To date, about 3,000 vouchers have been issued since the ICV was launched in June 2012.


source: http://business.asiaone.com

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