The Finance Minister, Mr Heng Swee Keat, delivered his fourth Budget speech on 18 February 2019. For the area of businesses, the Budget will be focused on driving innovation and growth among enterprises; increasing productivity of Singaporean workers; and strengthening the social framework. It remains an expansionary one for the Singapore Budget.
SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES IN BUDGET 2019
#1 Scale-up SG Programme
Scale-up SG is a 12-18 months programme that helps selected high-growth potential local companies scale effectively, become leaders in their fields and be groomed into future global champions. The programme aims to accelerate the companies’ growth so that they are able to contribute significantly to Singapore’s economy and create good jobs for Singaporeans.
#2 Innovation Agents Programme
A new pilot in the Budget for enterprises to tap on experienced industry experts for advice on innovation and commercialisation opportunities. Experienced industry professionals who have deep technical expertise and global businesses experience will be appointed as innovation mentors to local enterprises.
They will advise on the development of innovation strategies, as well as catalyse market-led innovation by connecting companies to valuable technology development and business partners.
#3 SME Co-investment Fund III
Since 2010, the Government has set aside $400 million through two rounds of the Co-Investment Programme (CIP) to invest in SMEs and private sectors. There is an additional $100 million investment by the Government to establish the SME Co-Investment Fund III this year.
As part of the CIP, Mr Heng said it is expected to attract about $200 million worth of investments for Singapore-based SMEs that are ready to scale up as part of the Budget plans.
#4 Enterprise Financing Scheme
- Streamlining of existing financing schemes to better support SMEs to access bank financing
- Enhanced support for companies incorporated for less than five years
- Extension of enhanced support for working capital to support SMEs, until 31 March 2021.
#5 SMEs Go Digital Programme
The SMEs Go Digital programme aims to help SMEs use digital technologies and build stronger digital capabilities to seize growth opportunities in the digital economy. Building on the foundation of Enhanced iSPRINT, SMEs Go Digital has a more structured and inclusive approach towards the adoption of digital technologies by SMEs.
#6 Digital Services Lab
Digital Services Lab (DSL) aims to strengthen the competitiveness of Singapore’s services sector with emerging technologies, and proliferating the innovations into the ecosystem. Such innovations address market gaps or problem statements that usually require the collective efforts of agencies and industry partners.
#7 Automation Support Package
Two-year extension to support businesses in deploying impactful and large scale automation technologies (until 31 March 2021).
#8 One-stop Portal for Firms to transact with Government
Launch of pilot portal for the food services sector, to streamline regulatory touch-points with government, from up to 14 to 1 as part of the Budget plans.
#9 New Professional Conversion Programmes
The Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) is part of Workforce Singapore’s (WSG) Adapt and Grow Initiative which provides mid-career Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians (PMETs) with the opportunity to be re-skilled and take on new careers in growth areas. Eg. Blockchain, embedded software development, and prefabrication.
#10 Career Support Programme (Till 31 March 2021)
- Two-year extension to provide wage support for companies that hire Singaporeans who are mature and retrenched, or in long-term unemployment (until 31 March 2021)
- Ensuring that our firms and workers remain competitive and relevant
- Expand scope to also support out-of-pocket cost for training, capped at $10,000
#11 Enterprise Development Grant (EDG)
- Include positive outcomes for workers, e.g. wage increases, for all EDG supported efforts starting from 1 April 2020
- Three-year extension (until 31 March 2023) of enhanced support level of up to 70%, in view of foreign workforce policy changes
#12 Productivity Solutions Grant
Three-year extension (until 31 March 2023) of enhanced support level of up to 70%, in view of foreign workforce policy changes