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A SME Centre @ SMCCI Senior Business Advisor gives Budget 2021 tips to SME owners

Belinda Wan
April 12, 2021

Ms Sneha Menon, a Senior Business Advisor at SME Centre @ SMCCI, addressing her audience. Photo credit: SME Centre @ SMCCI

In between navigating through uncertain economic conditions, evolving business landscapes and ensuring business sustainability, business owners have their hands full.

Business owners and key decision makers can approach the SME Centre @ Singapore Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SMCCI). The center offers complimentary business advisory and business diagnostics. The business advisors also guide companies in the access and facilitation of government assistance schemes.

The center also conducts capability development programmes through group-based capability-building projects, workshops, webinars and events.

The business advisory comprises three components — business strategy (specifically marketing, human resources, financial management, and productivity and innovation), business diagnostics (applying tools to tap potential growth or challenges), and lastly, access to and facilitation of government assistance schemes.  

To gain a preliminary understanding of the business model and business needs, a business owner or key decision maker could share some intimation on business goals. Information on the company website or social media platforms could also be informative to the Business Advisor before the first meeting.

Ms Sneha Menon, a Senior Business Advisor at SME Centre @ SMCCI, says: “To address the business goals and challenges stated by SMEs, Business Advisors first need a sound understanding of the business model and growth potentials. Solutions for business substitutability and progress are recommended through application of a variety of diagnostic tools.”

She shares more about how her team is helping SMEs after the Budget.

Focus on technology and jobs

Sneha says: “Budget 2021 is focused on business continuity and business  recovery. Its assistance schemes consider the business needs of SMEs so they can  emerge stronger from the pandemic’s business impact.”

She says SMEs can consider three key strategies to better leverage on the government assistance offered in the Budget.

  • Adoption of technology to enhance key business processes
  • Achieving the right match between business needs and technology adoption does not just increase efficiency or automate business processes. It contributes to various factors that have an internal and external impact on the business, explains Sneha.
  • Achieving a balance between and relevance of jobs and skills
  • In an ever-changing landscape, nothing stays the same, including human resource strategies.
  • “Enterprises in the current landscape should ensure that skills of the workforce remain in tandem with the changing business models,” she says.  
  • “SMEs are encouraged to re-evaluate their current needs and capture new opportunities that can accelerate their recovery and transformation in a sustainable manner.”
  • Upskill workers and invest in emerging technologies
  • Such costs can be subsidized through the available government assistance schemes.

Supporting growth and transformation

The Budget also offers targeted assistance schemes to assist SMEs that are trying to establish or grow their operations — for instance, the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG).  

SMEs that qualify for the PSG can benefit from the sector-specific and sector-expansive pre-scoped solutions or equipment that the PSG offers,” shares Sneha.

“Cloud-based accounting and human resource management solutions will enable companies to establish compliant processes and systems. Other sector-specific solutions could include fleet management for the transportation and logistics sector.”

For example, the F&B and environment services sectors can benefit from support in the adoption of equipment such as automated dishwashers, high-speed/ combi ovens and cleaning equipment to automate processes.  

Meanwhile, the Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) takes a three-pronged focus for growth-oriented enterprises in any of the following areas:

1. Core Capabilities: This helps to develop processes and blueprints for branding and marketing, financial and human capital development strategies, as well as the formulation of a growth strategy or a customer service blueprint, she says.  

2. Innovation and Productivity: SMEs can review and redesign workflows and/or automate processes to make workflows more efficient, review their processes and develop new business models.

3. Market Access: This is suitable for companies that are ready and able to venture into new markets.

“It supports the strategy and journey for mergers and acquisitions, and adoption of market-specific and industry-relevant internationally recognized standards,” explains Sneha.

This is the shortened version of an article that was first published in Lendingpot’s April 2021 newsletter.

Leading digital loan marketplace Lendingpot connects SMEs to its network of 45 lenders comprising relationship managers from banks, financial institutions, and private and peer-to-peer lenders in Singapore. It aims to help SMEs overcome the information asymmetry problem and lack of transparency prevalent in the SME financing sector by offering SMEs financing options such as business term loans, property loans, revenue-based financing, credit lines, working capital loans, bridging loans, invoice financing, and more.

About the author

Belinda loves thinking about random stuff, and collecting useless bits of facts and trivia. She often roots for the underdog, and believes the world needs more happy endings.

SME owners
budget 2021
help for businesses
Enterprise Development Grant
Productivity Solutions Grant
business advisor
SME Centre @ SMCCI

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