HELP’S AT HAND: TO TRANSFORM THE ECONOMY

Singapore Budget 2020: $8.3b to spur businesses to transform and grow

Over 3 years, it will help deepen enterprise capabilities, develop people, enable strong partnerships

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat arriving at Parliament House to deliver the Budget speech on Feb 18, 2020.
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat arriving at Parliament House to deliver the Budget speech on Feb 18, 2020.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

A slew of measures were unveiled which could cost $8.3 billion over the next three years to spur enterprises to transform and grow.

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, who is also Finance Minister, said the funds will go into supporting measures to: enable stronger partnerships, deepen the capabilities of enterprises, and develop people.

The sum includes the amount allocated in previous years.

He said: "As a small, open economy, we must continue to strengthen partnerships with the world... To make the most of our global links, we must also strengthen partnerships within Singapore to bring good ideas to global markets."

He added that the Government is also enhancing digital connectivity.

Besides international partnerships, Singapore also has to build connections within industries.

Mr Heng said: "Within each industry, we need to strengthen partnerships to deepen industry-wide capabilities. Even as our enterprises compete to differentiate themselves, they must come together to solve common challenges."

To spur businesses in raising their capabilities, Enterprise Singapore (ESG) will launch a pilot Executive-in-Residence programme to fund more than 10 trade associations and chambers in hiring experienced executives who can provide expert advice to enterprises in their industries.

ESG will also kick-start a new Heartland Enterprise Upgrading Programme to support merchants' associations in driving the transformation of heartland enterprises.

 
 
 
 

Selected associations will be supported in developing and implementing four-year precinct rejuvenation plans that include infrastructure improvements and training for enterprises and workers.

Start-ups, particularly those in deep tech, will also get more help.

Mr Heng announced that the Government will set aside an additional $300 million under Startup SG Equity, which provides financing for early-stage, tech start-ups.

"We expect this to draw in more than $800 million of private funding over the next 10 years. This will give deep-tech start-ups better access to capital, expertise and industry networks," he said.

He also introduced a range of measures to help enterprises to innovate and change, especially in the digital age.

"We must continue to support the growth of our enterprises and, as they mature, drive deeper transformation," Mr Heng said.

He introduced an Enterprise Transform Package, which includes an Enterprise Leadership for Transformation Programme to support business leaders of promising small and medium-sized enterprises. The aim is to groom business leaders of 900 companies over the next three years with training and mentorship, in collaboration with institutes of higher learning, for instance.

 
 

The Enterprise Development Grant, which provides integrated support for enterprises to innovate and internationalise, will also expand its reach to support about 3,000 projects this financial year. This is an increase of more than 10 per cent from the current number.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 19, 2020, with the headline '$8.3b to spur businesses to transform and grow'. Subscribe