More SMEs tap on SPRING schemes amid restructuring

February 12, 20149:42 am278 views
More SMEs tap on SPRING schemes amid restructuring
More SMEs tap on SPRING schemes amid restructuring

SINGAPORE — More than 3,400 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) tapped on various government schemes last year to boost productivity and grow their businesses in the midst of the economic restructuring, a 14 per cent increase from the previous year, SPRING Singapore said yesterday.

In all, more than 4,300 loans worth a total of S$1.25 billion were approved. The effort, when fully implemented, could translate into about S$6.2 billion in added value for the Singapore economy and create 21,000 jobs, 14,000 of which are skilled, the enterprise development agency said.

About 80 per cent of these SMEs were small and micro enterprises, or companies with revenues below S$10 million and S$1 million, respectively. The other 20 per cent were medium-sized companies with revenues between S$10 million and S$100 million.

“Despite the challenging environment in 2013, we saw more SMEs developing their capabilities and improving productivity. There were also many SMEs which found good growth opportunities,” said SPRING Chief Executive Tan Kai Hoe.

He added that the agency stepped up its effort last year to reach out to more SMEs through the five new SME Centres and their satellites. Accessibility to grants that it offered was also improved by simplifying them into a single Capability Development Grant.

More than 1,000 grants were given out to SMEs, with half of them for human capital development projects.

A company that benefited from the grant is Pan Asia Logistics, which saw a 20 per cent increase in employee retention, Mr Tan said.

SPRING also launched several new initiatives last year, one of which is the Partnerships for Capability Transformation (PACT) that seeks to encourage partnerships between large organisations and SMEs to allow the latter to build their track records and expand their businesses.

Two SMEs that have benefited from such a partnership are Super Pak Manufacturing and Mega Plus Technology, which tied up with a business unit under HP to create more environmentally-friendly packaging for ink canisters.

“Traditionally, our business has been in electronics, so we were trying to see how to apply our know-how in a different market. And it happens that we can still be relevant. So this helps us to maintain our business while expanding into product lines locally and overseas,” said Mr Long Tin Ping, General Manager of product packaging manufacturer Super Pak.

For HP, the partnership allows it to tap local expertise for an operation that is based in Singapore, a company representative said.

And as the Republic presses on with economic restructuring, productivity improvement should continue to be a priority for SMEs, said Mr Tan.

“The economic outlook for 2014 appears to be more optimistic, but productivity will continue to be the key theme in our entire economy, primarily because manpower is a key parameter and a key constraint. So anything that can help to relieve the manpower requirement will be in focus,” he said.



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