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19 Apr 2018 Updated 22 Aug 2021

Enterprise Singapore’s strategy to grow stronger companies

Png Cheong Boon, CEO, Enterprise Singapore

When you get down to it, we want to grow stronger Singapore enterprises because they are a key engine of growth for our economy, and create good jobs for Singaporeans.

We can grow stronger enterprises by helping them upgrade & enhance productivity, innovate & transform, and grow & globalise their business.

Singapore’s enterprise landscape

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With over 200,000 enterprises in Singapore today, we know each group of enterprises are at different stages of growth, face different challenges and resource constraints, and have different capabilities and capacities. With the enterprises coming from diverse industries, each has its own set of challenges and opportunities as well.

Growing companies is at the heart of what we do

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Today, large enterprises can become obsolete if they are not nimble and do not respond to today’s constantly changing global landscape. On the flip side, small enterprises or startups have the potential to become global champions quickly, if they have a unique value proposition and can make the most of global opportunities.

Our strategy is to:

  1. Look at the specific needs of each group;
  2. Provide a simplified but comprehensive suite of programmes to help enterprises in each segment;
  3. Focus our programmes and efforts on helping enterprises upgrade & enhance productivity, innovate & transform, and grow & globalise;
  4. Work with public and private sector partners – both local and foreign – to provide domain-specific, industry-specific, and market-specific assistance.

While our assistance tools aim to address the needs of different enterprises at different growth stages, we cannot at the same time customise our support for every single business.

Singapore enterprises of all sizes who are willing and ready can use our assistance programmes to compete in their respective markets. And for businesses with significant and longer term plans that are willing to commit significant resources of their own to implement these plans, we will partner you to help you realise your transformation and growth journeys.

Working with Startups

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Together with our partners (ACE, A*STAR, EDB, the IHLs, JTC, MAS, NRF, SG Innovate, VCs, incubators & accelerators, angel investors), we have developed a vibrant startup ecosystem in Singapore, spanning a range of industries such as ICT, fintech, biomedical, and others. We will continue to:

  • Enhance the Startup SG suite of programmes and strengthen the startup ecosystem in Singapore;
  • Work with EDB to expand the Global Innovation Alliance to more innovation nodes overseas. More Singapore startups can then plug into these innovation communities and expand their business globally. More foreign startups can also plug into the Singapore ecosystem and use Singapore as a base to connect to the region or to the world.

Working with micro enterprises & ‘first-time upgraders’

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For many micro enterprises as well as SMEs who are upgrading for the first time, we will support them in 3 areas:

  1. Easy access to advice, information and help through the SME Portal (a self-help online tool), our Business Advisors at the 12 SME Centres operated by the major TACs islandwide, and the Enterprise Infoline (tel: 6898 1800). So advice is a click, a phone call, or a visit away.
  2. Simplified and easy-to-use assistance programmes. Many micro enterprises have tapped the Productivity and Innovation Credit Scheme (PIC), Innovation and Capability Voucher (ICV) and IMDA’s iSPRINT in the past few years to upgrade their operations. To help them continue their upgrading journey, we have launched the new Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) for more impactful, ready-to-adopt IT and equipment solutions. They can also access the Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) Grant if they are venturing overseas for the first time. And we will also connect them to other agencies’ programmes such the Tech Depot and IMDA’s SMEs Go Digital programmes.
  3. Businesses looking into China, India and Southeast Asia can tap our Plug & Play Network, which offers a list of in-market advisors, business matching partners and co-working spaces for quick set-up, as well as the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s Enterprise Centre in Shanghai.

Working with SMEs

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Many SMEs have already upgraded and internationalised their businesses over the years. They can continue using upgrading programmes mentioned earlier while working with Enterprise Singapore to deepen their capabilities and develop their innovative capacities.

Specifically, we will focus our efforts on:

  1. Helping them innovate and transform their business, through Centres of Innovation, A*STAR Research Institutes, Productivity Centres, as well as human capital and leadership development programmes;
  2. Working with them to internationalise through our 35 Overseas Centres and Plug & Play Network;
  3. Combining our existing Capability Development Grant (CDG) and Global Company Partnership (GCP) Grant into a single Enterprise Development Grant (by Oct 2018) to support upgrading capabilities, innovation, business transformation and internationalisation. This grant is customisable for enterprises;
  4. Supporting enterprises with various programmes offered by the Ministry of Manpower, Workforce Singapore, SkillsFuture Singapore and the unions, to develop critical skills and human capital, and become more competitive in today’s manpower-lean environment; and
  5. Leveraging the enhanced PACT programme to drive more collaborations between enterprises, whether it is capability upgrading, product and solutions development, or jointly developing and securing new opportunities overseas.

Industry-specific assistance

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For micro, small & medium enterprises, we will also help them tap on the industry-specific capabilities upgrading programmes offered by the lead agencies under the various Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs).

We will step up our partnerships with Trade Associations and Chambers (TACs) through the LEAD programme to:

  • Develop and implement more meaningful programmes as part of the ITMs;
  • Help more SMEs internationalise;
  • Reach out to more SMEs and bring them on board the industry transformation efforts; and
  • Upgrade industries that are not currently covered by the ITMs.

Working with large enterprises

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We will continue assisting large Singapore enterprises to broaden and deepen their global presence. This includes connecting them to overseas contacts and networks, and supporting and facilitating their efforts to secure new opportunities and projects.

Beyond this, we aim to leverage the PACT programme and work closely with EDB to encourage more of Singapore’s large enterprises and MNCs to help our SMEs upgrade and facilitate their internationalisation efforts.

Working with Singapore enterprises to go global

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Companies can leverage our global network comprising 35 overseas centres, 9 Plug & Play partners in 6 countries, 4 Global Innovation Alliance locations, the Enterprise Singapore-Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry Enterprise Centre in Shanghai, several bilateral business forums and collaboration platforms, as well as our extensive network of global partners.

This is supplemented by Singapore’s network of 22 Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and Economic Partnership Agreements with 33 trading partners. We are also in talks with the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) to explore helping more Singapore companies expand globally through our FTAs.

We will also continue to expand and deepen our existing global networks.

Additionally, together with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), we will be setting up a new Infrastructure Office to continue strengthening Singapore’s position as a hub for Infrastructure projects regionally and globally.

Growing and deepening our global networks will continue to be a priority for us.

Strengthening our financing environment

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We will continue to strengthen our financing environment by:

  • Improving our suite of tools (Micro Loan, Working Capital Loan, Venture Debt, Internationalisation Finance Scheme) to meet the financing needs of Singapore enterprises for local and global growth; and
  • Working with multilateral development banks, international financial institutions, insurers, financing platforms, VCs, and private equity players to strengthen the financing ecosystem. This will provide more financing options to support the growth and internationalisation needs of Singapore enterprises.

Building a talent pipeline and grooming leaders

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Availability of human capital and strong leadership capabilities are critical to the growth of our SMEs.

To this end, we will work with Workforce Singapore, SkillsFuture Singapore, the Institutes of Higher Learning and the unions, to help our enterprises build a talent pipeline and groom leaders, with specific programmes targeted at students/pre-employment candidates, mid-career professionals and existing business leaders.

Building a global trade hub

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  • Expanding into new sectors of growth (eg. LNG), increasing the networks of enterprises, improving trade infrastructure, and building a pipeline of trade-ready talent;
  • Driving the digitalisation of our marketplaces and trade platforms, connecting them to global platforms, and attracting global platform players to Singapore. We will also launch the new Trade Infrastructure Development Fund in 2018 to support enterprises developing B2B e-marketplaces and innovative trade and financing solutions.

Strengthening Quality & Excellence to support growth

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Lastly, in the area of quality and excellence, Enterprise Singapore continues to undertake our role as the national standards and accreditation bodies, as well as be responsible for consumer product safety and legal metrology. The consumer protection fair trading function will now be undertaken by the Competition & Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS).

We will enhance our standards and quality infrastructure, and leverage this to raise the competitiveness of Singapore industries, enterprises, products and services, and help them gain better access to global markets.

Working with willing and able companies

We want to work with enterprises that are willing and ready to upgrade and stay competitive amid today’s external challenges. We aim to make it easier for companies to access advice, connect to our network, use our programmes and resources, and apply for schemes.

For businesses with significant and longer term plans that are willing to commit significant resources of their own to implement these plans, Enterprise Singapore will partner you to help you realise your transformation and growth journeys.

Useful Links

  • Find out more about our financial assistance programmes (capability development, overseas market access, etc) here.
  • Find out more about our other assistance programmes (business toolkits, talent support, startup support, etc) here.
  • Contact us here.