Budget 2016: Extra push for growing businesses to overcome obstacles

Both Ms Jacinta Ong and Mr Albert Tan of Tea Ideas hope the Government can set up a business-matching programme to help SMEs, like Tea Ideas, connect with relevant service providers.
Both Ms Jacinta Ong and Mr Albert Tan of Tea Ideas hope the Government can set up a business-matching programme to help SMEs, like Tea Ideas, connect with relevant service providers. ST PHOTO: TAMARA CRAIU

The Sunday Times speak to a multinational, a small and medium-sizedenterprise and a Singaporean worker to find out what they hope this year's Budget will bring.

Despite the slowing economy, the directors of Tea Ideas are not predicting a slowdown in sales this year. Still, director Albert Tan, 50, hopes to get an extra push from the Government to help overcome issues the company faces as it grows in scale and scope.

"We're an emerging SME that is past the stage of trying to prove ourselves," says Mr Tan, whose company makes a tea infuser called Tea Wands, which doubles as a strainer and a stirrer. Unlike tea bags, they do not collapse when steeped in water.

"It's breakthrough or breakdown for us. And I believe the needs of companies like us, at the three- to five-year mark of development, are similar."

He hopes the Government can roll out schemes for companies at this "critical stage" of development, to help them sort out the business processes.

Mr Tan says he has problems getting affordable bookkeeping services. Says another director of the company, Ms Jacinta Ong, 40: "When we first started, we did everything ourselves. As we grow, we need professional support, but the charges are simply too high,"

  • THE BUSINESS

  • • Home-grown enterprise Tea Ideas has been steadily growing since it was set up four years ago.

    • Today, it has an annual sales of more than half a million dollars, and has taken its first steps to sell outside Singapore.

Mr Tan also feels SMEs can be categorised according to the different stages of development, so it is easier to match the relevant government grants to the businesses. "We don't want to add anything else to the Budget wish list. The help is already there. But the grants are too diverse and we get lost."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 20, 2016, with the headline 'Extra push for growing businesses to overcome obstacles'. Print Edition | Subscribe