SMEs get multi-agency support

We thank Mr Raymond Koh Bock Swi (SMEs cannot thrive if forced to go it alone; June 16) and Dr Michael Teng (Distressed SMEs need corporate rescue centres; June 14) for their feedback.

Small and medium-sized enterprises are a significant part of our economy, and the Government is committed to helping them succeed.

Our economic agencies work together to ensure that SMEs receive the support they need.

For example, Spring Singapore helps SMEs grow through a range of assistance schemes, programmes and a strong network of partners. Together, they support SMEs' capability development efforts.

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IE Singapore helps SMEs to internationalise.

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) supports SMEs in adopting new technologies and building innovation capabilities.

There are also targeted schemes to support SMEs in specific areas.

To help viable SMEs with cash flow concerns, we introduced Spring's SME Working Capital Loan last year together with 12 participating financial institutions, where the Government co-shares 50 per cent of the default risk for loans up to $300,000 per SME.

The Automation Support Package provides funding support of up to 50 per cent for SMEs to automate and drive productivity.

There are other financial and non-financial assistance programmes to help SMEs at various stages of growth.

The SME Portal (www.smeportal.sg) serves as the first stop for SMEs looking for information, tools and services that can help them.

SMEs can also approach the 12 SME Centres for free one-to-one business diagnosis and advisory services, and take part in regular workshops on topics ranging from productivity improvement to financial management.

The SME Centres engaged about 30,600 enterprises last year. The one-stop Business Grant Portal provides a single platform to make it easier for SMEs to tap government grants.

SMEs are the central focus of the Government's efforts to transform the economy, and we remain resolute in our commitment to help them.

Cindy Keng (Mrs)

Director, Corporate Communications Division

Ministry of Trade and Industry

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 26, 2017, with the headline 'SMEs get multi-agency support'. Print Edition | Subscribe