How Budget 2021 will support businesses

Table of Contents

COVID-19 has been a great physical disruption to businesses but it has catalysed the change into a virtual economy. In the 2021 Budget Statement, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat announced measures to enable firms and workers to transform and emerge stronger from the pandemic.

Over the next three years, $24 billion will be set aside for this. He outlined three enablers in this effort:

  1. Growing a vibrant business community
  2. Catalysing a wide range of capital
  3. Creating opportunities and redesigning jobs

1) Growing a vibrant business community

To ensure a business community with a strong spirit of innovation and enterprise that is well-connected to the rest of the world, there is a need to restore Singapore’s physical connectivity. 

Hence, strong support will be set aside to transform the aviation sector for recovery with Budget 2021. In addition, Singapore’s digital connectivity will also need to be expanded and deepened so our capacity for collaboration and innovation increases.

This will be done through the following ways:

Positioning the aviation sector for recovery

  • Changi’s connectivity to be restored so it can be secured as a key aviation hub.
  • Investment in on-arrival testing and biosafety systems.

Creating platforms for creative ideas

  • Investment in three key platforms to drive innovative ventures
    • Corporate Venture Launchpad will provide co-funding for corporates to build new ventures through pre-qualified venture studios.
    • Open Innovation Platform facilitates the matching of problems faced by companies and public agencies, with solution providers, and co-funds prototyping and deployment.
    • Global Innovation Alliance serves to catalyse cross-border collaboration between Singapore and major innovation hubs globally.

Deepening global and Southeast Asia partnerships

  • Work together with ASEAN members to pursue common frameworks in emerging areas, and enhance digital connectivity and cybersecurity.
  • Enhance infrastructure investments in the region.

2) Catalysing a wide range of capital with Budget 2021

Secondly, a wide range of capital will be catalysed to co-fund and enable businesses to innovate, transform and scale.

This will be done through the following ways:

Venture debt for high-growth enterprises

  • Ensure they have access to financial capital, by extending and enhancing the Enterprise Financing Scheme – Venture Debt programme. With this, we expect about $45 million of venture debt to be catalysed over the next year.

Co-funding transformation of mature enterprises

  • Co-fund adoption of digital solutions and new technologies by extending the enhanced support levels of up to 80% for existing enterprise schemes such as the Scale-up SG programme, Productivity Solutions Grant, Market Readiness Assistance Grant, and Enterprise Development Grant, to end-March 2022.

Equity investments in large local enterprises

  • Partnerships with equity firms to provide growth capital for local companies. $500 million will be co-invested with Temasek in a Local Enterprises Funding Platform, to be managed commercially.

Transformation of value chains – Growth and Transformation Scheme

  • Build on the Alliances for Action, beginning with the Built Environment sector where each player in the chain works together to integrate and digitalise processes, and upskill their workers.

3) Creating opportunities and redesigning jobs

Developing the skills, talent and creativity of Singaporeans is the last key enabler in supporting businesses. For more on the support for workers in this area with Budget 2021, click here.

A digital, innovation-driven economy means that businesses will need highly-skilled workers and deep talent. Our people will need to have both broader and deeper skills and creativity.

To secure our future, we must build new capabilities in our people and businesses, and find new ways to work together effectively. Within and across industries, and beyond our shores. 

DPM Heng Swee Keat during his Budget Statement on 16 February 2021

For more on Budget 2021, visit www.singaporebudget.gov.sg

In summary, business owners and employees in Singapore have various support schemes to turn to for business continuity. Besides applying for monetary grants, one key factor is to ensure employees stay agile by upgrading their skills. That is how Singapore will come back stronger and better in terms of economic recovery.

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