New scheme to help F&B firms in S'pore and China expand abroad

SME suppliers, manufacturers can access more buyers under initiative by Temasek's Trustana

Food and beverage (F&B) suppliers and manufacturers in Singapore and China planning to expand overseas will get help under a new Global Expansion Programme.

Small and medium-sized enterprises that are selected will be able to tap resources to overcome barriers such as the lack of a physical presence, under the initiative officially launched yesterday by Temasek-founded cross-border trade and sourcing platform Trustana.

The programme is supported by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), Enterprise Singapore and the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity Initiative Administrative Bureau (CCIB).

Trustana said suppliers from Singapore and China selected for the programme will receive assistance with exporting their products as well as access to additional sales channels.

Singapore firms will get access to buyers in China, while suppliers based in China will be able to tap Trustana's network of buyers in South-east Asia. Over 100 selected suppliers from Singapore and China are already on board the programme.

The programme's official launch follows a successful pilot led by Trustana and CCIB earlier in the year, which saw five suppliers from Chongqing expand into South-east Asia.

Trustana chief executive Rebecca Xing said the extension of the programme demonstrates the demand and urgency for suppliers to harness opportunities present in international markets.

As part of the SMEs Go Digital programme, eligible Singapore SMEs can receive support under the Grow Digital initiative to leverage e-commerce platforms and sell products overseas without having a physical presence.

SMEs in the food manufacturing and wholesale trade sectors can receive up to 80 per cent in grant support to defray the cost of getting onto Trustana's platform.

Trustana, which was launched last year and has its headquarters in Singapore, is a business-to-business trade platform which helps firms source and sell products. So far, it has helped 5,000 F&B buyers and suppliers in building new cross-border business connections across China and South-east Asia.

At the same time, CCIB is also investing in the programme over the next three years to support Chongqing suppliers selected for the programme, and to aid the companies in their overseas expansion.

The level of support provided will depend on the type of membership that a supplier opts for when taking part in the programme, Trustana said.

It is free for companies to join and list their products on Trustana's platform, with paid tiers for additional services such as assistance with navigating export regulations, market and product analysis, as well as demand generation and marketing.

Mr Leong Der Yao, IMDA's assistant chief executive for sectoral transformation, said: "Going digital is vital for SMEs to transform their businesses during the pandemic to overcome disruptions and remain globally competitive to capture new growth opportunities in overseas markets.

"I encourage SMEs from the food manufacturing and wholesale trade sectors in Singapore to onboard Trustana's platform to get a head start in going global by increasing their reach to potential customers in China and the Asean region."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 23, 2021, with the headline New scheme to help F&B firms in S'pore and China expand abroad. Subscribe