We Review Enterprise Singapore (ESG)

 
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How can Enterprise Singapore help SMEs?

The merger of government agencies International Enterprise (IE) Singapore and SPRING Singapore was first announced on 5th Sep 2017 and Enterprise Singapore (ESG) was officially launched on 2nd Apr 18.

For observers, this represents a pragmatic merger between two closely related agencies targeting the same audience. Previously, SPRING Singapore provided assistance for Singapore companies to grow domestically while IE Singapore promoted international trade.

We believe that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and that the union of two statutory boards will create a stronger organization with an enhanced ability to value-add to SMEs in Singapore.

In line with the findings of the Committee of Future Economy (CFE), there is a positive shift in the government’s perception of its role in promoting domestic and international business growth and innovation in the digital economy.

What can SMEs look forward to in Enterprise Singapore (ESG)?

 
Can’t go wrong with these easy-to-navigate tabs. Picture from:  Enterprise Singapore

Can’t go wrong with these easy-to-navigate tabs.
Picture from: Enterprise Singapore

 

1. A consolidated space to find the areas of government plans and support schemes for their specific industry sector

One of the key recommendations of the CFE is to create Industry Transformation Maps (ITM).

These ITMs, which are each championed by different government agencies, will provide a holistic vision for the transformation of that specific industry.

Enterprise Singapore has translated these visions into specific assistance schemes that are relevant to small business owners.

For example, the Food Services ITM envisions the productivity and sustainability boosting transformation of traditional coffee shops. Correspondingly, the ESG Food Services “Boost Capabilities” page details the process and grants available for adopting technological practices.

 
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2. A consolidation of all government financial and non-financial assistance for SMEs in Singapore

It is now easier to find information about all forms of government financial support for small businesses, previously administered by SPRING and IE Singapore. A new web portal, the Business Grants Portal (BGP), will also be the one-stop location to apply for all relevant grants.

We’re also enthused by the new and improved interface for seeking non-financial assistance, which provides an extremely useful broad overview of every tool in one place.

Our favourite tools are:

–  Tech Depot: The depository of all recommended digital solutions and technology providers for businesses. These digital solutions are claimable under the new Productivity Solutions Grant.

–  Export Guide: This is intended to give confidence for Singapore businesses to expand overseas.

–  SkillsFuture SME Mentors Programme: Learn from the best and the experienced.


3. An improved productivity grant

The Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) will replace the older Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) and Innovation & Capabilities Voucher (ICV).

This new grant comes with its pros and cons for the average small business owner.

The pros:

–  Enhanced clarity and transparency

*  The new grant clearly stipulates qualifying products and vendors, together with the associated
grant support levels.

–  Reduce uncertainty about solution providers or the usability of equipment purchased

*  Both are verified by rigorous government processes to ensure best results

–  Increased grant caps

*  More grants are provided for large equipment investments

The cons:

–  Removal of tax deduction/allowances

* Reduced incentive to increase productivity

–  Reduced ability to creatively solve productivity problems

* Grant is given only for pre-scoped productivity solutions and equipment with prequalified vendors.

–  Increased difficulty for older businesses to improve productivity

* Although the actual grant process has been simplified now, SME
business owners may actually be required to do more work.

*  They will need to do more research to understand both their business
requirements and find out what is approved for the grant.


Conclusion!

We’ll bring you more analyses if and when Enterprise Singapore rolls out more plans.

Watch our latest video here!: Clearing misconceptions about invoice financing!

 
 

This article was edited by: Paul Hong


 
 

About The Author

 
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Eric Koh is passionate about helping SMEs grow and has spent years interacting with business owners at OCBC and IFS Capital. He is interested in 70s Rock n Roll, the odd novel and copious amounts of historical trivia.

Connect with him via eric@lendingpot.sg

 
Eric Koh