Mr Kwek Hian Chuan Henry: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry what has been the take-up rate for the SME transformation programmes including SMEs Go Digital, Productivity Solutions Grant, and Market Readiness Grant.
1. The Government has implemented many programmes over the years to help SMEs upgrade their capabilities and grow their businesses.
2. The SMEs Go Digital programme was launched in April 2017 to make it simpler for SMEs to adopt digital solutions. This includes providing step-by-step guidance on going digital through the Industry Digital Plans, pre-approving digital solutions with grant support, as well as offering consultancy and project management services. SMEs which are newly incorporated can take up foundational solutions with the Start Digital Pack. To-date, about 10,000 SMEs have benefitted from the programme.
3. The Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) programme helps SMEs in taking their first steps to tap global markets. The MRA supports companies in activities such as preparing for market entry and participation in trade fairs. Since its introduction in 2013, about 5,000 companies have tapped on this programme to bring their business overseas.
4. The Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG), introduced in April 2018, assists companies to adopt ready-made solutions like IT tools and equipment to become more efficient. The programme has been well received by businesses: around 6,400 projects have been supported so far, benefitting about 5,370 companies.
5. There are many other grant schemes available to support SMEs, but I would like to emphasise that companies should not be grant-focused and scheme-centric. The grants and assistance schemes are meant to enable companies to build up their capabilities and become more competitive. This outcome can only be achieved when companies start by having a clear plan on how they want to transform and grow to meet the needs of their customers.
6. As companies transform, they need to also invest in training their workers to help them pick up new skills and move up the value chain. The government firmly believes that enterprise transformation must go hand in hand with worker training and skills upgrading. When we enhanced the PSG from 1 July 2019, we included a SkillsFuture Training Subsidy of up to $10,000 per company to encourage companies to embark on training when they undergo enterprise transformation.