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15 May 2020 Updated 15 Sep 2020

Free series of webinars to help SMEs boost capabilities

The Straits Times Choo Yun Ting

Although there is a range of schemes to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) improve their business capabilities, Mr Jason Ang did not know where to look.

The director of Kah Teck Hardware Trading, which deals in steel supplies like plates and pipes, said the company's sales revenue had fallen amid the Covid-19 outbreak and he needed help navigating the different initiatives.

"There are many schemes available, but business owners and management may not understand the schemes well enough to determine which are most suitable for our businesses," he said.

To help firms like Mr Ang's, a series of free webinars conducted by public and private industry players was launched. Around 200 SME owners and management staff attended the first session yesterday.

The webinar was conducted by representatives from SME Centre @ North West and SkillsFuture Singapore.

It was focused on key grants and programmes from Budget 2020 that SMEs can tap, such as the SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit (SFEC). The scheme provides a one-off $10,000 credit to cover out-of-pocket expenses like business transformation, job redesign and skills training for employees.

Mr Ang said he learnt how to use initiatives like the enhanced Jobs Support Scheme and SFEC to retain and train employees.

The series is organised by the North West Community Development Council and its partners: Enterprise Singapore; JTC Corporation; SkillsFuture Singapore; SME Centre @ North West; and the Singapore Manufacturing Federation.

The next session will be held next month, and will focus on how companies can better manage and retain their employees during this period. It also includes tips on adopting flexible work arrangements. Subsequent sessions in July and August will look at digital marketing strategies and protection of intellectual property.

Dr Teo Ho Pin, the mayor of North West district, said: "Moving forward, it is essential that we encourage businesses to embrace digitalisation to better position themselves for the future - a distinctly digital 'new normal' in Singapore and the rest of the world."

Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.