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SMEs Are The Most Vulnerable In A Rocky Economy, But The Government Wants To Help Them Thrive

The Technology Adoption Programme (TAP) will be enhanced to better meet the technology needs of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

Announced by Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam yesterday at the Infocomm Commerce Conference and SME Expo, TAP was introduced in 2013 and was created to help SMEs in Singapore improve productivity with the use of ready-to-go technologies and innovations from public sector research and development (R&D) organisations.

The changes are said to be made more sector-focused, and will widen the range of solutions available by into tapping resources from the private sector, as well as facilitating faster scaling-up and adoption of such technology.

According to Channel NewsAsia, the Government will work together with trade associations and chambers (TACs) to fully understand the problems industries face, so that their technology needs can be addressed with relevant solutions.

TODAY also mentions that besides the public sector research institutions, the number of new solutions and technologies will be extended to Centres of Innovation, Higher Learning Institutions and private sectors to hunt for upcoming technologies which can be used.

In the ever-growing world of technology, if one doesn’t adapt to the changes, one cannot really survive, let alone businesses and SMEs.

With this new enhancement, SMEs now have an upper hand in staying relevant. But this isn’t the only scheme the Government has introduced this year.

image credit: channel news asia
Image Credit: Channel NewsAsia

Adding-On To Schemes Announced At Budget 2016

In the recent Budget in March, the Government also revealed several initiatives that would help SMEs stay afloat in the economic downturn.

Some of these include The Special Employment Credit – extended until 2019 – where employers can offsets wages up to 8% when they hire Singaporean workers aged 55 and above earning up to $4,000 monthly.

The SME Working Capital Loan scheme loans SMEs up to S$300,000 and the Government will also co-share half of the default risk of these loans.

Another initiative is the rise of corporate income tax rebate from 30 to 50 per cent of tax payable, and is limited at $20,000 a year.

Banks Need To Also Support The Innovation Of SMEs

Minister Shanmugaratnam also encouraged banks to continue their support for the innovation of SMEs, despite the economic slowdown.

The reason being that it not only benefits the SMEs and economy but the banks as well.

In The Business Times he mentions that “During hard times one should invest in capabilities for the long term, and this is the attitude that the banks should take.”

He also cautions banks to be understanding of the cashflow difficulties SMEs face during a slowdown as they are the most affected.

Banks such like Maybank, UOB and DBS are already implementing loan schemes to help SMEs.

SMEs applying for loans through dbs/ image credit: dbs.com.sg
Image Credit: dbs.com.sg

DBS, working with Infocomm Investments (IIPL) and Intellectual Property Intermediary Singapore (IPI), recently launched a programme allowing SMEs to submit a business problem online and subsequently be matched with a tech solution provider.

Boost For SMEs

These initiatives are meant to help SMEs succeed in a more competitive environment even with the tight labour constraints.

Aimed to reconstruct the economy with grants, loans and tax rebates, the Government’s plan to “scale up and internationalise” is on the way.

Being that SMEs and startups are usually the most affected in economic changes, it’s great that they are being given the help they need. These are generally the people who would come up with surprising products and innovations after all.

Who knows, we might even have our very own Mark Zuckerberg pretty soon!

Feature Image Credit: mustsharenews.com

 

 

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