Offer more support to entrepreneurs

Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing called on the nation to prepare for the worst-case scenario yet to come (S'pore needs to be ready for worst-case scenario: Chan, Aug 25).

As an entrepreneur in the electronics industry, I have already been prepared since early last year, given that the trade war between the United States and China will be very bad for the world. Their differences will not be resolved in the next five years or so.

It's been said that China will one day rise to become No. 1 in the world. In some cases, this may be good for Asia as consumption from the 1.4 billion population will bring wealth into South-east Asia, but other superpowers may think this is a threat to their supremacy.

Reskilling and skills upgrading schemes will offer only minimal relief to some in Singapore, and these are not foolproof solutions during a downturn.

Innovation is the only way to help Singapore grow. Every industry in Singapore needs to be innovative and be driven towards its goals. We need to encourage and nurture entrepreneurship from primary school all the way to higher education.

The Government has to play a very big part in this investment as entrepreneurs usually need cash grants to survive as start-ups.

Getting approval for cash grants is a long process under the current system.

Furthermore, not every innovative idea or business will bring in good returns, whether in the short or long term, as fine tuning ideas takes time and depends on market conditions.

I hope the Government will explore all opportunities to fully support all innovative ideas and businesses, and give priority to approving grants.

Gabriel Ong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 31, 2019, with the headline 'Offer more support to entrepreneurs'. Print Edition | Subscribe