New programme launched to help SME leaders in Singapore drive transformation, growth efforts

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) made it clear that the economy is not out of the woods yet, even after a sharp jump in economic growth in the July to September period. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Leaders of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) here will learn how to drive change and growth in their companies as part of a new initiative.

The Enterprise Leadership for Transformation programme, which was announced at Budget 2020, was launched on Wednesday (Oct 28).

The inaugural run will see 60 participants from 38 local SMEs undertake a one-year curriculum designed to address knowledge gaps in leadership and business fundamentals, and provide them with specific guidance in areas such as drawing out execution road maps.

They would also gain access to different perspectives through peer learning, and engagement with successful entrepreneurs and industry experts.

It could provide exposure to potential collaboration opportunities within Singapore and the region, said Enterprise Singapore, which is overseeing the programme.

Speaking at the launch at Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said there is no going back to the pre-Covid-19 world, but noted a collaborative effort is needed to help firms move forward and adapt to the new environment.

"The Government can establish the macro environment, but we need business leaders to lead the transformation of your respective businesses.

"We can equip you with the resources, we can provide (you) with access to advice from partners... but ultimately, you and your leadership teams are the ones who will make it happen."

In his speech, Mr Chan outlined the Government's three-pronged strategy to grow the economy and create good jobs.

He said it will nurture the start-up ecosystem, and focus on new growth opportunities and anchor these capabilities in Singapore.

The Government will also identify and attract strategic multinational corporations to move here.

At the same time, it will encourage more pervasive and deeper business transformation to ensure companies are more resilient and able to seize opportunities.

The leadership programme is one way in which the Government is supporting business leaders in transformation efforts, Mr Chan noted.

"Ultimately, giving of grants and subsidies can only help businesses go so far... The real breakthroughs in the business will come from your efforts, when you have new ideas about new markets, new products and services, new ways of producing your goods," he said.

Participants in the first run come from diverse sectors, such as manufacturing, information and communications technology, as well as the lifestyle and consumer industries.

The majority of these companies have expanded their business overseas and are looking to pursue further growth by either deepening their capabilities or expanding into more markets, said Enterprise Singapore.

The programme is offered in collaboration with institutes of higher learning, which will work with private-sector partners such as financial institutions to support the business leaders.

The National University of Singapore and the Singapore Management University are partnering Enterprise Singapore for this first run, while the Singapore University of Social Sciences will take in its first cohort in the first quarter of 2021.

About 900 SME leaders are expected to undergo the programme over three years.

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