We refer to Mr Damien Toh's letter, "Limited pre-approved vendors a setback in applying for cash grant" (Aug 16).
Mr Toh asked whether Digital Resilience Bonus (DRB)-qualified solution providers are able to cater to the varied needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
In May last year, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) launched the DRB on top of existing programmes like SMEs Go Digital. This was to provide additional support to food services and retail businesses severely hit by Covid-19.
Under the DRB initiative, businesses could access 282 pre-approved solutions which had proven track records and were competitively priced. These were wide-ranging and included digital ordering, e-commerce, accounting, HR/payroll, inventory management, data mining and analytics. About 5,000 businesses benefited, receiving payouts of up to $10,000.
We recognise that some SMEs with unique needs may have chosen to adopt solutions customised for their operations. They could have sought support for this by appealing to IMDA, which assessed all appeals based on a consistent set of publicly available assessment criteria.
Based on our records, Mr Toh appealed for six solutions that were not pre-approved. Four of these were approved as they had met the relevant criteria. Two solutions which Mr Toh appealed for were in the data mining and analytics category. Given the higher level of bonus payouts in this category, vendors had to meet a more stringent set of criteria. In both cases, the criteria were not met.
We appreciate Mr Toh's point that certainty of bonus payout helps SMEs decide on digitalisation plans in a timely manner. This is why we provided a wide selection of ready-to-adopt, pre-approved solutions and accepted appeals for implementation of bespoke solutions.
We will continue to review our support schemes and improve their administration.
Foo Wen Dee
Director, Communications and Marketing Division,
Infocomm Media Development Authority