Speech by MOS Low Yen Ling at the Singapore Heartland Enterprise Star Award 2022

Speech by MOS Low Yen Ling at the Singapore Heartland Enterprise Star Award 2022

Mr Yeo Hiang Meng, President, The Federation of Merchants’ Associations Singapore (FMAS)
Ms Lee Huay Leng, Editor-in-Chief, Chinese Media Group, SPH Media Limited
Mr Bernard Choo, Editor-in-Chief, Shin Min Daily News
Mr Andy Hoon, Chairman of the Organising Committee, Singapore Heartland Enterprise Star Awards 2022
Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. Good evening everyone. It is my pleasure to be back again at this year’s Singapore Heartland Enterprise Star Awards.

2. Our heartland shops are the heartbeat of the community. They form a central thread of Singapore’s social fabric and everyday lives. Singaporeans young and old enjoy the convenience and affordable options that the heartlands offer – from shopping and dining to all kinds of goods and services. 

3. The heartlands help to strengthen social ties and preserve our rich local heritage. The familiar sights and sounds of our heartland shops are close to the hearts of every Singaporean. This evening’s awards recognise outstanding businesses that raise the notch and deepen the role that heartland enterprises play in energising and shaping our vibrant heartlands. 

An Enterprising Spirit to Grow and Transform

4. Allow me to say a few words in Mandarin. 

5. 冠病疫情这几年,给我们的邻里企业和商家带来了挑战。经商的成本上涨,消费者的购买习惯也产生了改变。

6. 尽管面对重重挑战,我们的邻里企业和商家们,仍然秉持着不屈不挠的精神和积极的心态,响应今年奖项“跨越邻里,求变求新”的主题。让主办方感到欣慰的是,全国商联总会和邻里企业中心,一直都在致力于协助邻里商家调整商业模式,协助邻里商店数码化,提升员工技能,创新求变,以更好地满足顾客多元化的需求。

7. 今天颁发的“邻里企业之星奖”,旨在表扬杰出的邻里企业。它们勇于创新,大胆采纳数码科技,成功转型,不仅业务取得了增长,还打开了新的市场,接触到新的客户群。让我举两个例子。

a. 春成水产企业,以前只专注出口业务,2011年设立了SILVERSEA 自家品牌。冠病疫情期间,春成积极采纳数码转型,把SILVERSEA 放上 Shopee, Q10, Redmart, Lazada, Amazon 等等电子商务平台,让更多消费者接触到他们的产品。

b. 另外一家邻里企业,是由两位好友于2015年创办的 New Dawn Learning Studio补习中心。这家补习中心以独特的环境和教学法,激发学生学习。冠病疫情对补习中心的冲击,启发他们突破创新,改变经营模式,创办了“曙光之翼”,把‘We Work’, ‘We Play’和 ‘We Shop’的创新概念带入邻里, 带动了邻里企业的新风气。

8. 在此,我要恭喜春成水产企业和曙光之翼,获得邻里企业之星奖(陈月娥主席,郭允诺先生和杨家乐先生有在现场对吧?恭喜你们和你们的团队!)。也要恭喜其他得奖的邻里企业之星!希望大家的成功,能够鼓励更多的商家积极转型,采纳科技,把握未来的机遇! 

The Government’s Support for Heartland Enterprises

9. The Government is strongly committed to supporting the growth and future of our heartland enterprises. It is with this aim that we launched the $50m Our Heartlands 2025 programme earlier this year. 

10. Over the next four years, Our Heartlands 2025 will: (1) deepen the digital and manpower capabilities of our heartland shops, (2) upgrade the capabilities of our trade associations and chambers (TACs) to better support heartland enterprises, and (3) revitalise the heartlands to attract more customers.

11. I trust that this concerted drive to develop our heartland shops will strengthen and bring these enterprises to new levels of growth and transformation. Let me elaborate on how businesses in the heartlands have made positive strides to transform and embrace digital adoption. 

a. In 2020, the Heartland Digitalisation and Revitalisation Committee (HDRC) that I co-chair with Senior Minister of State Sim Ann introduced the Heartlands Go Digital programme to encourage heartland retailers and F&B outlets to adopt e-payments and digital commerce solutions. 

b. As of November this year, 93% of all heartland enterprises across Singapore have adopted e-payments. In addition, two-thirds (66%) have onboarded their products onto various digital channels such as Shopback, Carousell, and Fave as part of the Heartlands Go Digital programme. A good example is New Dawn Learning Studio who adopted SG QR code for contactless payment. 

12. To all our heartland enterprises, I wish to say: Keep up the good work and continue to upgrade your digital capabilities. You can make use of programmes like Heartlands Go Digital to improve your productivity, increase revenue streams and stay competitive amid a fast-changing environment. 

13. I am confident of your enterprising and can-do spirit. I saw how you embraced the digital CDC vouchers last year. Shopkeepers and hawkers who were initially unfamiliar with technology gave the e-vouchers the thumbs up for their quick reimbursement and ease of use. Thank you for giving digitalisation and the e-vouchers a chance. 

CDC Voucher Scheme

14. To date, we have close to 20,000 heartland merchants and hawkers on board the CDC Voucher scheme.  I am glad that many heartland enterprises are now reaping the benefits of digitalisation as they expand their customer base and get greater visibility via the CDC Voucher Scheme. Since 2021, the Government has injected close to $250 million over two tranches to support our local businesses through challenging times. 
15. This has resulted in increasing the dollar spent and business activities in our heartlands. As of today, more than 1.2 million Singaporean households have claimed their 2021 CDC Vouchers; and 1.16 million Singaporean households, more than 95% have claimed their 2022 CDC Vouchers. In total, more than $218 million, 92% of the total amount of vouchers claimed has been spent at participating businesses. 

16. I think many of us would have already spent our vouchers, especially with Christmas around the corner. But if you have not done so, remember to claim and spend your 2021 and 2022 CDC vouchers as soon as possible as they expire on 31 December this year, or in about 11 days.

17. If you do not wish to spend your vouchers, you have the option of donating them to a charity. There is a list of charities to choose from and they will receive the cash equivalent value of the vouchers donated. I am happy to announce that from today, donations of unused 2021 and 2022 CDC Vouchers can be done online at the CDC Vouchers website. A step-by-step video on how to do so, as well as the list of charities to donate to, can be found on https://vouchers.cdc.gov.sg/donate.

18. I would also like to take this opportunity to share that DPM Lawrence Wong will be launching the next tranche of the $372 million CDC Vouchers Scheme 2023 on 3 January 2023. Every Singaporean household will receive $300 worth of CDC vouchers. This is part of the Government’s Assurance Package to help Singaporeans cope with the cost of living. This move to raise the level of assistance via the CDC Vouchers will put more daily essentials and goods into the hands of Singaporeans.  

19. In addition, the inclusion of major supermarkets in the range of participating businesses next year will widen the choice and depth of coverage provided by the CDC Voucher scheme. Each Singaporean household can claim and spend their 2023 CDC vouchers from 3 January 2023.  

20. Out of the $300 vouchers given to each Singapore household, $150 can be spent at the supermarkets and $150 at heartland shops and hawkers. We hope Singaporeans will continue to support our local businesses with their patronage.

21. I want to thank the close to 20,000 participating merchants and hawkers for their support towards the first two tranches of the CDC Voucher scheme. The third tranche of CDC vouchers amount to total possible spend of $186 million at our heartland merchants and hawkers. I look forward to their continued participation. 

22. Allow me to say a few words in Mandarin. 

23. 谈到社理会邻里购物券计划,相信大家不会陌生。政府为这个计划,总共投入了将近2亿5000万元,分别在2021年12月和2022年5月,推出了两轮的邻里购物券。在此,我要特别感谢各位邻里商家们对社理会邻里购物券计划的大力支持,我们很高兴在短短的一年里,加入这项计划的邻里商家和小贩,已经达到2万家。许多商家都表示,这项计划帮助大家提高这几个月来的业绩。     

24. 社理会邻里购物券也获得国人的踊跃支持,截至今天,已经有超过120万户新加坡家庭领取了2021年发放的邻里购物券,相等于98%。而今年5月发放的购物券,也有高达95%的家庭,或是116万户已经领取。国人使用邻里购物券进行的消费总额,则是达到了将近2亿1千800万元,让2万家邻里商店和小贩受惠。

25. 邻里购物券很快将在今年12月31日到期,还剩下11天,请大家帮忙提醒顾客、家人、邻居和亲戚朋友们,赶快领取购物券,赶快消费。

26. 购物券除了可以消费,我很高兴的宣布,从今天开始,大家还可以选择把邻里购物券的余额,捐赠给慈善机构。想要知道更多详情,包括如何捐赠,大家可以上网浏览社理会邻里购物券网站。

27. 接下来,政府将在2023年1月3日,推出总值3亿7千2百万元,第三轮的社理会邻里购物券。每户新加坡家庭,将能够获得多达300元的邻里购物券,其中150元可以在超市使用,另外150元照旧可以到我们的邻里商店和小贩摊位使用。比起第一和第二轮的购物券,第三轮能够在邻里商店和小贩摊位使用的购物券,总额就高达1亿8千6百万元。

28. 所以,各位邻里企业同仁,如果您知道还有哪些商店或是小贩还没有加入计划的,希望您帮忙鼓励他们。邻里中心是我们社区的情感联络站,我们希望通过社理会邻里购物券计划,推动邻里商圈的经济,把邻里中心打造成更加热闹、更有活力的社区中心。       

A Rich Partnership Ecosystem

29. The Government appreciates the partnership and collaborative efforts we have made with TACs like FMAS to support and bolster the growth of our heartland enterprises. A big thank you to FMAS for your steadfast work and close partnership in leading, advancing and supporting our heartland enterprises as they scale up to future-proof their business. 

30. For instance, the Heartland Innovation Challenge organised by FMAS has spurred new and innovative business ideas among heartland enterprises. 

a. The second run of the Heartland Innovation Challenge held by FMAS in June this year brought together merchant associations, heartland enterprises and tertiary students for a structured 3-month innovation process to develop business capabilities through idea conceptualisation, prototyping, marketing and pitching. 

b. One of the winning teams comprised a gelato shop, The Denzy Collective and students from Temasek Polytechnic. During the challenge, the team came up with creative solutions including redesigning their physical store to include elements such as photo wall to widen the reach of its online channels for better brand visibility. 

31. This type of close collaboration enjoyed between heartland enterprises and education institutions benefits both parties and brings about fresh ideas to spur business growth. The Government will continue to strengthen our ties with TAC and industry partners to amplify the impact of our joint efforts to boost and build up our heartland enterprises.


32. As our heartland enterprises continue to display a can-do spirit, there is no mountain too high that cannot be conquered. We are with you on your journey of transformation and growth. As you adapt, innovate, upskill and become more adept, you can also leverage the strength and synergies of partners and programmes with the Government, merchant associations and industry to take your enterprise to higher heights. 

33. My warmest congratulations to all winners at tonight’s awards and I wish all our heartland enterprises the very best in your journey ahead. Thank you.

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