Mr Liang Eng Hwa, Member of Parliament, Holland-Bukit Timah GRC: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) how can the various economic promotion agencies work closer together to support companies to grow and meet the challenges in this rapidly changing economic environment.
- Thank you Mr Speaker. Over the years, SPRING Singapore and International Enterprise (IE) Singapore have been the key economic agencies supporting Singapore companies’ efforts to build up their capabilities and expand into international markets. Both agencies also work closely with other government agencies, such as the Economic Development Board (EDB), Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Workforce Singapore (WSG). This is to ensure that they meet companies’ specific needs. In addition, we have 23 Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs) which bring together Government agencies and non-Government stakeholders such as Trade Associations and Chambers, Institutes of Higher Learning and training providers, to deliver a more integrated planning and implementation efforts to address the specific needs of each industry vertical.
- But as we have all acknowledged, the economic environment is changing quite rapidly because of global digital connectivity, technological shifts and new business models. Coupled with our tighter domestic constraints, external demand will be an even more important driver of growth. Our companies must be able to respond nimbly to geo-political and economic shifts, shorter technology cycles, and business model disruptions to tap on these opportunities. The Committee on the Future Economy (CFE) has emphasised this and also the capacity to innovate, harness new technologies, scale up and internationalise, which are increasingly intertwined for all companies. Hence, we have urged our companies and industries to transform themselves. This is a message that must equally apply to the Government agencies so that they adapt their programmes and, when necessary, restructure to better serve Singaporeans and our enterprises.
- Last week, I announced the merger of SPRING and IE to form a new government agency, Enterprise Singapore, which aims to better meet the needs of companies in this dynamic economic environment. We will be able to do more for the companies and also with the enterprises by leveraging on the combined resources and levers of both SPRING and IE. In arriving at this decision, we have also studied the feedback from various parties, including our Trade Associations and Chambers, as well as Members of Parliament, past and present, for a consolidated government agency to champion the growth and development of SMEs.
- Enterprise Singapore will integrate its knowledge of industries and its network of local and overseas partners, to support our enterprises, regardless of their size or stage of growth. Through Enterprise Singapore, start-ups will benefit not only from the capability development support that SPRING currently provides, but also be plugged into IE’s international networks. SMEs will receive assistance to build their capabilities and seize opportunities in overseas markets, to take their growth to the next level. Large local enterprises can work with Enterprise Singapore to strengthen collaboration within their industry clusters and enhance the capabilities of the SMEs that support them.
- In addition, Enterprise Singapore will deepen its partnerships with industry stakeholders, in particular Trade Associations and Chamber, educational institutions and unions, to build strong local enterprises and create exciting new jobs for Singaporeans. Enterprise Singapore and EDB will form two critical and complementary government agencies that will help formulate and implement strategies for the development of industry clusters and enterprises. Enterprise Singapore will also work closely with EDB to drive collaboration between multinational corporations, innovative start-ups, and enterprises of all sizes.
- We believe that Enterprise Singapore will be well-positioned to build globally competitive local enterprises with deep capabilities, and the ability to create good jobs for Singaporeans. We look forward to working closely with all stakeholders to fulfil this mission.