Singapore Budget 2018: Companies Fostering tie-ups at home and in region

Juicy Folks director Alvin Tam backs a tighter-knit food production sector and would like to see an industry cluster that is "vertically integrated" from raw material supply to last-mile delivery. His company is a joint venture of juice vendor Squeez
Juicy Folks director Alvin Tam backs a tighter-knit food production sector and would like to see an industry cluster that is "vertically integrated" from raw material supply to last-mile delivery. His company is a joint venture of juice vendor Squeezed! and eateries The Soup Spoon and Joe & Dough.ST PHOTO: YEN MENG JIIN

Asean network, simplified grant scheme to help develop ideas

A regionwide enterprise network and a simplified grant scheme for industry tie-ups are in the works to help Singapore companies reap the benefits of innovation.

One new development is an Asean Innovation Network - an initiative that Singapore will pursue as it chairs the regional bloc this year.

Partnerships with overseas counterparts will anchor Singapore as a "node of technology, innovation and enterprise" in Asia and the world, noted Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat.

"This way, our firms and people can remain plugged into the latest developments all over the world, and create new ideas by interacting with people from diverse backgrounds."

Another initiative will bring together various grant schemes for businesses, such as the Partnerships for Capability Transformation (Pact) programme - now overseen by different government agencies - and Spring Singapore's Collaborative Industry Projects.

A fresh iteration of Pact will streamline measures such as these.

Separate programmes will become a single scheme, in which the Government will bear as much as 70 per cent of the costs incurred when companies work together in areas such as business development or internationalisation.

 
 

More details of both these moves will come in the Trade and Industry Ministry's budget debate.

Mr Alvin Tam, 37, a director at contract manufacturer Juicy Folks, backs a tighter-knit food production sector, adding that he would like to see an industry cluster that is "vertically integrated" from raw material supply to last-mile delivery.

"Not only will it help us to stay price-competitive, but the cluster can also benefit from cross-fertilisation of ideas," said Mr Tam.

His company is a joint venture of three home-grown chains - juice vendor Squeezed! and eateries The Soup Spoon and Joe & Dough.

The Government will continue to support measures like the Local Enterprise and Association Development initiative, launched in 2005 to support trade associations and chambers' industry-level projects.

Mr Heng also pointed to the Global Innovation Alliance, a network set up last year to give firms and people experience in foreign hotbeds of innovation.

"Competition is not the only driving force in our economy. Cooperation is also key," he said.

"Where synergies exist, we can achieve more when we work together and draw on one another's strengths to address common challenges and capture bigger and better opportunities."

GO ONLINE For more, visit the ST Budget microsite at str.sg/budget2018

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 20, 2018, with the headline 'Companies Fostering tie-ups at home and in region'. Print Edition | Subscribe