Year-In-Review 2021


In 2021, 22,100 Singapore enterprises built new business capabilities, innovated and expanded overseas with our support, despite continuous challenges faced amid the pandemic.

This is estimated to catalyse S$17.9 billion in value-add and 23,300 skilled jobs for the Singapore economy over the next few years.

This year, there are strong signs of a global economic recovery. With our businesses showing themselves to be adaptable and resilient, it’s time for us to help them gear up to seize opportunities locally and abroad.

Find out how we helped our enterprises adjust to COVID-19 and transform, and how we will help them scale up and keep growing in 2022.

Supporting enterprises as they pressed on with transformation and growth efforts

Helping enterprises cope with COVID-19 business challenges

Key priorities 2022

Supporting enterprises to manage COVID-19 challenges

  • Extended the Temporary Bridging Loan Programme and the enhanced Enterprise Financing Scheme (EFS) - Trade Loan till 31 March this year, with Enterprise Singapore (ESG) sharing a higher loan default risk.
  • Partnered participating financial institutions to catalyse S$8.6 billion worth of loans for 12,600 enterprises.
  • Supported over 10,000 F&B establishments and retailers during the Phase 2 Heightened Alert to go digital and sell online via the E-Commerce and Food Delivery Booster Packages.

Helping enterprises transform

With our support, many enterprises took steps to build new business capabilities, innovate and expand overseas in 2021 despite COVID-19.

  • Productivity and capability building
    • 21,900 enterprises embarked on productivity and capability upgrading projects.
    • More than half were from food services, retail, wholesale trade and manufacturing, with many focusing on automation, process and workflow redesign and digitalisation.
  • Innovation
    • 600 enterprises undertook innovation projects to develop new products and solutions that meet market demands.
    • Over 130 SMEs partnered IPI Singapore and the nine Centres of Innovation (COIs) that uplift business innovation capabilities or co-develop new products.
  • Internationalisation
    • 1,600 enterprises continued to internationalise despite continued global travel restrictions, with many exploring new platforms, channels and networks to do so.
    • China and Southeast Asia, particularly Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia, remained the top destination markets.
  • Leadership transformation
    • 16 high-growth firms from various sectors joined the Scale-up SG programme to strengthen their capabilities and networks and accelerate growth, making a total of 65 in the programme to date.
    • 180 business leaders from 130 enterprises joined the Enterprise Leadership for Transformation programme to be equipped with the know-how to lead enterprise transformation and drive business growth, making a total of 180 enterprises in the programme to date.

Driving partnerships for enterprise growth

We continued to work with both local and global partners in various ways to help enterprises transform and grow.

Strengthening the startup ecosystem

  • 2,300 tech startups gained access to funding, incubation and mentorship through our Startup SG programmes and assistance from partners.
  • SEEDS Capital, our investment arm, invested S$48.6 million into 46 early-stage tech startups, catalysing close to S$334 million worth of private sector investments.

Our priorities for 2022

This year, we are shifting gears to help enterprises capture growth\. We will refocus on these four key areas.

  • Accelerate internationalisation and trade

    Internationalisation continues to be key for growth and resilience. To help enterprises deepen their overseas market presence in regional markets and enter markets further afield, we will:

    • Build greater awareness of Singapore enterprises’ capabilities among foreign corporates and governments.
    • Tap Singapore's thriving tech and innovation ecosystem to attract international firms to partner Singapore enterprises for growth.
    • Help enterprises scale up overseas more quickly through joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, and alliances.
  • Intensify innovation and startup efforts

    Innovation remains key to ensuring success on the global stage. To drive innovation efforts, we will:

    • Build on the success of our open innovation efforts and driving more cross-border innovation partnerships.
    • Strengthen support for COIs to help startups and SMEs innovate and bring new products to markets more quickly.
    • Grow the startup ecosystem, with a focus on talent, financing and connections.
  • Seize growth opportunities in new areas

    New areas like sustainability and emerging technologies offer exciting opportunities for Singapore enterprises. To reap these, we will.

    • Work with enterprises to build capabilities and integrate sustainability into their businesses. This helps them remain relevant and capture opportunities in the green economy, such as demand in food tech, clean energy and infrastructure.
    • Build on existing efforts to groom companies in emerging areas such as blockchain and immersive technologies through partnerships with industry stakeholders.
  • Groom and grow local companies with global ambitions

    We will step up our efforts to grow a new generation of homegrown champions that are globally competitive, rooted in Singapore and which provide good jobs for Singaporeans. We will:

    • Intensify our efforts to identify and partner more high-growth companies, through initiatives such as the Scale-up SG and ELT programmes.
    • Provide comprehensive support across innovation, internationalisation, financing, talent development, resource and regulatory facilitation.

Additional resources

Not sure where to start?

Speak with an experienced advisor at the SME Centres to explore solutions tailored to your business needs.