SMEs now have 'LinkedIn' portal to connect them to MNCs and research institutes

The A*Star Collaborative Commerce Marketplace portal was one of four initiatives announced by Minister for Trade and Industry S Iswaran (center) at the Precision Engineering Centre of Innovation conference.
The A*Star Collaborative Commerce Marketplace portal was one of four initiatives announced by Minister for Trade and Industry S Iswaran (center) at the Precision Engineering Centre of Innovation conference. PHOTO: ST BUSINESS / TWITTER

SINGAPORE - Call it the LinkedIn for local manufacturing businesses.

The A*Star Collaborative Commerce Marketplace (ACCM) was launched on Thursday (May 12)to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) connect with multi-national corporations (MNCs), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) research agencies and institutes of higher learning.

The portal was was one of four new initiatives announced by Minister for Trade and Industry S Iswaran at the annual conference of the Precision Engineering Centre of Innovation.

The initiatives, which aim to up the competitiveness of local precision engineering companies by developing their capabilities, are part of the wider S$4.5 billion Industry Transformation Programme announced at Budget 2016.

The ACCM portal highlights the capabilities of local SMEs, so MNCs can easily source for prospective suppliers in Singapore. The platform also allows SMEs to gain insights to the needs of MNCs. Through this network, companies with similar interests can better connect with each other, and to A*STAR research institutes or universities that can help them bridge technology gaps.

The ACCM is open to all government agencies, suppliers and industry partners.

Another initiative announced was a joint R&D collaboration between the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech) and Applied Materials to enable metal 3D-printing of parts that can function in rigorous operating environments.

An MOU was also signed between 5 SMEs and SIMTech to enable participating SMEs to tap into SIMTech's expertise in furthering their developmentin 3D-printing.

The Singapore Precision Engineering and Technology Association (SPETA) and SIMTech also signed an MOU to bridge the R&D needs of the manufacturing sector with research institutes.

At the conference, Minister Iswaran stressed the importance of collaboration between the different players in the key precision engineering sector which encompasses some 2,700 companies.

"Precision engineering is the backbone of the manufacturing industry ... Like manufacturing, precision engineering is integral to Singapore's future economy. To grow and remain competitive, the industry must continue its transformation journey," said Mr Iswaran.