In his letter dated 21 Oct 2014, Mr Liu Fook Thim suggested having an "EDB equivalent" to help SMEs.
SMEs are an important segment of Singapore’s economy. To build a strong and competitive economy, we need to help SMEs grow and succeed. SPRING Singapore is the primary agency which looks after the SME sector, providing a broad range of programmes to support capability development by SMEs. It works closely with other agencies to ensure alignment of programmes and strategies for the sector. For example, IE Singapore helps SMEs to expand overseas, a crucial step for such enterprises given Singapore's small domestic market. A*STAR supports SMEs in developing and adopting new technologies. IDA actively supports the growth of local innovative info-communication companies and start-ups.
Our multi-agency approach ensures that willing and able SMEs receive the level and type of support they need to thrive.
The Government has also set up the SME Workgroup, which brings together grassroots advisors, government agencies and businesses on a single platform, to strengthen our engagement with the business community. Our network of 12 SME Centres across Singapore provides one-stop business advisory services for SMEs.
Last year, our collective efforts assisted over 20,000 SMEs. An additional 9,000 SMEs were engaged in outreach activities.
The Government has introduced specific programmes to help SMEs attract good workers. Through SPRING's SME Talent Programme, SMEs have been offering internships and job opportunities for students from the Institutes of Technical Education, polytechnics and universities. A total of 320 SMEs are participating in this programme and more than 740 students have been successfully matched with companies.
In addition, IE Singapore's Young Talent Programme develops and attracts young talent from local universities for Singapore companies' overseas businesses. SPRING and IE Singapore also provide other assistance to help companies with talent attraction, development and international HR strategies.
Mrs Cindy Keng
Director, Corporate Communications Division
Ministry of Trade and Industry