SINGAPORE - The Government will commit up to $600 million to set up a new fund that aims to help Singapore-based companies increase their presence on the global market.
Called the International Partnership Fund, it will co-invest with these firms to help them internationalise, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said in his Budget address on Monday (Feb 20).
The fund will be managed by a unit of Temasek Holdings, Singapore's state investment company.
This is part of the Government's plan to continually develop a smart financing ecosystem that will support further growth, Mr Heng added.
In addition, it will also enhance its Internationalisation Finance Scheme - through catalysing private finance and sharing risks with financial institutions - to enable firms to tap on the growing market for infrastructure development in emerging Asian economies.
This is part of a strategy that will help Singapore build its future economy.
Another new initiative that the Government will roll out is a new programme aimed at helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) embrace digital technology.
The programme expands on one of the seven key strategies - to build strong digital capabilities - proposed by the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE) which released its report earlier this month.
"Digital technology has unique potential to transform businesses large and small, across the economy," said Mr Heng in Parliament. "The first way to strengthen our enterprises, especially SMEs, is to help them adopt digital solutions."
The programme, which the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) will spearhead and work with Spring Singapore as well as other agencies, will have three key components:
- SMEs to receive step-by-step advice on the technologies to use at each stage of their growth through the sectoral Industry Digital Plans. Sectors where digital technology can significantly improve productivity - retail, food services, wholesale trade, logistics, cleaning and security - will get a headstart;
- In-person help at SME centres and a new SME Technology Hub to be set up by IMDA, where SMEs can get advice on off-theshelf technology solutions that are pre-approved for funding support, or connect to info-communications and technology (ICT) vendors and consultants. More digitally advanced firms will receive specialist advice at the SME Technology Hub;
- Those ready to pilot emerging ICT solutions will receive advice and funding support. The Government will work with consortiums of large and small firms to help them adopt impactful, inter-operable ICT solutions.
Over $80 million will be pumped into the programme, Mr Heng revealed.
The money will also go into strengthening capabilities in data and cyber security, with the Cyber Security Agency working with professional bodies to train more professionals.