One of the three key thrusts in Budget 2019 to support industry transformation is building deep enterprise capabilities.
Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat reported that there are more than 150 global venture capital funds, incubators, and accelerators based in Singapore supporting startups.
He shared that Enterprise Singapore will launch a Scale-up SG programme in partnership with private and public sectors, working with high-growth local firms to identify and build new capabilities to innovate and go international.
The Government will also launch a pilot Innovation Agents Programme for firms to consult a pool of experts on opportunities to innovate and commercialise technology.
To encourage global private equity firms to invest in business in Singapore, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has simplified regulations for venture capital managers and have set up a US$5 billion private markets programme.
Since 2010, the Government has set aside $400 million through two rounds of the Co-Investment Programme (CIP) to invest in SMEs and private sectors, and Mr Heng said they will set aside an additional $100 million to establish the SME Co-Investment Fund III this year.
As part of the CIP, Mr Heng said it is expected to attract about $200 million worth of investments for Singapore-based SMEs that are ready to scale up.
Loan financing remains and important source of funding for SMEs, Mr Heng said.
Noting that there are different financing schemes available, the Government have decided to enhance the accessibility of loans by making it simpler for SMEs.
Current existing schemes offered by Enterprise Singapore will be streamlined into a single Enterprise Financing Scheme, launching October 2019, that will cover trade, working capital, fixed assets, venture debt, mergers and acquisitions, and project financing.
The Government will extend the SME Working Capital Scheme for 2 more years until March 2021 for a further $1.8 billion, Mr Heng announced.
About 4,000 SMEs have adopted the SME Go Digital Programme which was introduced in Budget 2017, and Mr Heng stated that it will be expanded.
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