Singapore Budget 2020: Firms to get more help to innovate and go global

A new platform called GoBusiness will streamline licence applications for businesses, as well as make it easier for them to get information about government help. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

To enable businesses to grow and create jobs, a new package will help them enter new markets, innovate and adopt digital solutions.

The Enterprise Grow Package will include new grants as well as enhanced versions of existing support measures, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday.

"Our enterprises must be the incubators of innovation, the crucibles for skills upgrading and the creators of good jobs for our people," said Mr Heng, who is also Finance Minister.

As part of this package, a new platform for companies to transact with the Government online called GoBusiness will be launched to ease the process and make it easier for them to get information on government help. It was piloted last October for the food services sector.

Yesterday, Mr Heng also pledged greater support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to tackle business challenges brought about by digital disruption, through the expansion of the SMEs Go Digital scheme.

Under the scheme, 10 out of 23 Industry Transformation Map (ITM) sectors have had industry digital plans developed. These guides to help SMEs select digital solutions and skills training programmes will be expanded to the remaining 13 ITM sectors, which were first outlined in Budget 2016 as part of a $4.5 billion industry transformation package.

Companies will also get more help in entering new markets, with the enhancement of the Market Readiness Assistance (MRA), a grant scheme that gives funds to companies taking their first steps to internationalise.

Under the new MRA, companies can consult the Government on how to better ride on the free trade pacts Singapore has with other countries. The grant cap for the MRA will also be increased from $20,000 annually to $100,000 per new market per company, in the enhancement period of FY2020-2022.

The existing 70 per cent support level for the MRA, which firms can use to pay for activities like promoting products and services overseas, will also be extended for another three years until March 31, 2023.

A separate initiative called Grow Digital will also be set up by the Infocomm Media Development Authority and Enterprise Singapore to access global markets via digital channels. More details on this will be announced later in the year.

Enterprise Singapore will also partner with the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) to start GlobalConnect @ SBF in April to help local companies go abroad.

The Productivity Solutions Grant, which gives enterprises funds to adopt pre-approved digital solutions and equipment, will also be expanded and include job redesign consultancy services.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 19, 2020, with the headline Firms to get more help to innovate and go global. Subscribe