Firms to create 21,500 jobs, generate $16.4b in revenue after help from EnterpriseSG in 2023
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: Firms to create 21,500 jobs, generate $16.4b in revenue after help from EnterpriseSG in 2023

EnterpriseSG also helped local firms secure deals and grow their presence in overseas markets through 460 projects in 2023. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE – Few consumers would place furniture shops at the cutting edge of technology, but local store Scanteak reckons it makes a good fit.

One of its initiatives is to employ an augmented reality feature on its website that allows customers to visualise furniture pieces in their own homes before making a purchase.

This feature was introduced in 2023 as part of Scanteak’s broader digitalisation efforts in collaboration with Enterprise Singapore (EnterpriseSG), which is also helping the firm implement an artificial intelligence-based network in its internal systems.

These initiatives have improved Scanteak’s operational efficiency and lowered costs by reducing repetitive tasks across sales, customer service, accounting and administrative duties by approximately 40 per cent.

Scanteak is just one of 18,000 local enterprises which worked with EnterpriseSG in 2023 on projects to build new business capabilities, innovate and expand overseas.

Around 3,000 of these companies are expected to generate $16.4 billion in revenue and create 21,500 skilled jobs within the next three to five years, EnterpriseSG said in its annual review report on Jan 25.

The other 15,000 companies partnered with EnterpriseSG for fundamental capability building, or adopting digital solutions like inventory or human resource management systems. They also pursued initiatives to explore fresh market opportunities, such as participation in overseas trade fairs.

About $10.2 billion of the $16.4 billion in projected revenue is expected to come from enhanced cost competitiveness through automation, process redesign and offshoring projects.

Internationalisation efforts, including business strategy development, international branding and marketing, are anticipated to contribute $5.2 billion, while $1 billion is expected from the development of new products and services.

EnterpriseSG also helped local firms secure deals and grow their presence in overseas markets through 460 projects in 2023.

One example is Singapore fashion label Love Bonito, which opened a pop-up store in New York in June 2023.

The firm, which entered the US market in 2019 through EnterpriseSG’s Scale-Up Programme, also has a presence in regional markets like Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines.

Love Bonito is expecting international markets to contribute to 50 per cent of its total revenue by the end of 2024.

EnterpriseSG chief executive Lee Chuan Teck noted that Singapore’s companies faced multiple challenges in 2023, including a global manufacturing recession caused by a build-up of inventory during the pandemic, increased trade and investment barriers, higher interest rates and a poor fund-raising environment.

Mr Lee said: “Many businesses in Singapore felt it more acutely because, unlike other countries, we also have rising rent and labour costs.”

EnterpriseSG expects the manufacturing sector to rebound and inflationary pressures to ease in 2024, but it also warned that “long-term structural challenges” will remain.

Mr Lee noted that although more economic tailwinds can be anticipated in 2024, Singapore is constrained by limited resources, which are expected to get worse.

“It is likely that the global economy will continue to fragment; trade tensions between both large and small countries are unlikely to ease anytime soon,” he added.

EnterpriseSG plans to bolster connections between small and medium-sized enterprises and large companies here, exploring opportunities for co-innovation, market expansion and process improvements.

It will also expand collaborations with local and international partners to broaden market access for Singapore’s companies.

EnterpriseSG announced on Jan 24 that Mr Lee will become the agency’s executive chairman in April, succeeding Mr Peter Ong, who retires as non-executive chairman on Mar 2024.

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