Three more satellite SME Centres to be set up this year to help local firms

Three more satellite SME Centres will be set up this year, to bring the total number of such centres to 15, said Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck on Thursday.

Speaking at the inaugural SME Centre Conference, Mr Teo said these centres play the crucial role of providing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with customised support such as business diagnosis services, as well as advice about tapping on government assistance schemes.

The centres helped over 20,000 SMEs last year, including training about 1,000 SMEs in business capability development areas, he said.

The locations of the three new centres have yet to be confirmed.

The government has set aside about $30 million to run the centres over three years, from April 2013 to March 2016. Over 60,000 SMEs are expected to be helped by the centres during this period.

Mr Teo cited Arrow Tyres as an example of a company which has benefitted from SME Centre help.

The 13-strong company, which is in the labour-intensive business of installing car tyres and rims, was advised to invest in a machine that allowed just one employee to change four run-flat tyres. Usually, at least two employees would be required.

The new technology increased the company's process efficiency by 40 per cent, Mr Teo said.

He added: "I would like to urge all SMEs to take full advantage of the services available at the SME Centres."