Family businesses face the complex issue of leadership succession, and more must be done to help them pass on the mantle so it does not get in the way of growth.
With this aim, Enterprise Singapore (ESG) is rolling out the Scale-up programme to help local companies grow more quickly, said its chairman Peter Ong.
Announced at this year's Budget, the 2½-year programme was launched yesterday with 25 local firms, including restaurant chain Jumbo Group, childcare service provider EtonHouse International and furniture manufacturer Koda.
About a third of the participating companies are family businesses.
Companies were invited to take part and were selected because of their ambition and growth records.
ESG is paying up to 70 per cent of the cost, with the companies picking up the rest of the tab.
Scale-up participants will work with consultants McKinsey & Company and PwC Singapore.
They will prioritise and decide on the areas they want to grow and develop road maps on how to achieve their targets. They will also attend classes, workshops and networking events.
A key part of the programme involves not just the companies' chief executives, but also other senior executives and family members, said Mr Ong, adding: "We believe it takes a strong team to build a great company."
The programme involves family members so that leadership across two generations can learn and develop together under a nurturing environment, he added.
Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said at the launch that Singapore has set itself apart by ensuring that its society remains cohesive and stable as the economy performs well.
He added: "In many countries today, while many companies grow and make money, not everyone in the society moves along."
Countries can fragment and break apart as a result, he said.
"We distinguish ourselves because, even as we do well economically, we also do well by keeping our society stable and cohesive."
This has been possible because workers here have benefited from companies' growth, Mr Chan said, urging firms that have been given a leg-up to create better jobs.
Durapower Holdings group chief executive Kelvin Lim said he is looking forward to a five-day course at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. About three months ago, he was invited by ESG to take part in the programme.
He is hoping to bounce ideas about his battery technology company off the management gurus at one of the world's top business schools. "It will be a chance to take stock of how ready we are (to expand further). It will be a stress test for my strategy," Mr Lim said.