Both small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and multinational corporations (MNCs) play important roles in our economic development.
Recognising this, we have been resolute through the decades in our commitment to developing our SMEs.
Our approach has evolved in tandem with our economy and industry needs.
The formation of Enterprise Singapore earlier this year, through the merger of Spring and IE Singapore, signalled the Government's commitment to build a thriving community of Singapore-based enterprises that are competitive and future-ready.
Enterprise Singapore takes an enterprise-centric approach, providing differentiated programmes and support.
Last year, Spring supported the capability upgrading of close to 40,000 companies, almost thrice the number supported in 2010.
Similarly, IE supported more than 45,000 companies in their overseas ventures last year, 36,000 of which were SMEs. This is more than double the number supported five years ago.
Many SMEs have benefited from Singapore's investments in research, innovation and enterprise (RIE) development, funded through the National Research Foundation, Agency for Science, Technology and Research ( A*Star) and other agencies.
RIE programmes, such as the Technology for Enterprise Capability Upgrading scheme, support SMEs looking to build up in-house research and development (R&D) capabilities and attract R&D talent.
Since 2003, more than 700 A*Star research scientists and engineers have been seconded to SMEs to work on over 600 projects.
More local companies are also licensing intellectual property from A*Star, and technology consortia have been set up to enable companies to strengthen their technical competencies. More than half of the industry members in these consortia are SMEs.
Singapore's pro-business environment, strong connectivity and well-educated workforce have continued to allow it to position itself as a strategic base for MNCs.
The stock of foreign direct investments in Singapore has grown at a compounded annual growth rate of about 14 per cent in the last five years.
In addition, the Government facilitates partnerships to benefit SMEs and workers.
For instance, Enterprise Singapore and the Economic Development Board both administer the Pact programme, which enables collaborations between MNCs and SMEs to reinforce each other's strengths and enhance competitiveness.
Our economic agencies will continue to partner all industry stakeholders to make Singapore a more conducive environment for companies, and help ready and willing enterprises to grow and scale up.
Lim Weilin (Ms)
Director, Corporate Communications Division,
Ministry of Trade and Industry