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SINGAPORE BUDGET 2018

Singapore Budget 2018: Productivity Solutions Grant to cover six sectors first

Grant will cover sector-specific solutions in retail, food, logistics, precision engineering, wholesale and landscaping industries

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Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Sim Ann says for businesses that want simpler solutions for improving productivity, pre-scoped productivity solutions are a tried and tested way to achieve quick results.

Singapore

AN INITIAL S$110 million will be set aside over the next three years for the new Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG), which supports selected productivity solutions in line with Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs).

For a start, the grant will cover sector-specific solutions in the retail, food, logistics, precision engineering, wholesale and landscaping industries, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said in a statement yesterday.

The grant will also support broad-based solutions that cut across industries, such as digital customer relationship management and human resource management systems.

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"For businesses that want simpler solutions for improving productivity, pre-scoped productivity solutions are a tried and tested way to achieve quick results," said Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Sim Ann in her ministry's Committee of Supply debate yesterday.

Open to applications from April 1, the PSG initially combines three existing grants, with more to be added over time.

These are Spring Singapore's Innovation and Capability Voucher, the National Parks Board's Landscape Productivity Grant, and the Infocomm and Media Development Authority's support for pre-scoped solutions under the SMEs Go Digital Programme.

The PSG provides funding support of up to 70 per cent. Grant caps have been raised and customised for each industry, said Ms Sim, without giving details.

The PSG is for solutions and equipment chosen by the agencies in charge of each ITM - for example, a digital ordering and payment system for the food industry.

As more agencies put up solutions for support, the PSG will cover more items and sectors, such as tourism, agriculture and professional services.

Other grants and schemes are also being consolidated.

From the fourth quarter of 2018, the existing Capability Development Grant (CDG) and Global Company Partnership (GCP) schemes will be combined into the Enterprise Development Grant.

Said Ms Sim: "It will give more holistic assistance to companies who can make use of the same grant to upgrade, innovate, or venture overseas, or any combination of these strategies."

Under the two existing schemes, the maximum support for local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) was raised from 50 per cent to 70 per cent in Budget 2012 for three years, then extended for another three years. This higher support level will be extended again till the end of FY2019.

Non-SMEs will receive support of up to 50 per cent, compared to a similar level under the GCP and up to 30 per cent under the CDG. From April 1, various grant schemes for trade associations and chambers (TACs) will be combined into a single Local Enterprise and Association Development programme.

These existing schemes are Spring and IE Singapore's Lead; Spring's Lead+; Spring's TAC-Collaborative Industry Projects; and the Singapore Tourism Board's Association Development Fund (ADF).

As Lead supports up to 90 per cent of qualifying costs for high-impact projects with multiple TACs, such projects in the tourism sector will soon be able to enjoy this higher funding level, compared to the ADF's funding of up to 70 per cent.

Lead will also support place management initiatives, by funding TAC-led projects under the Urban Redevelopment Authority's pilot Business Improvement District scheme.

With the changes, Lead's Budget for 2016-2020 has been updated to S$115 million, from S$100 million previously.

Separately, an innovation scheme for SMEs is being extended to consortiums too, said Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon.

A*Star's Growing Enterprises through Technology Upgrade initiative currently offers Operation and Technology Roadmapping for SMEs.

This guides SMEs in customising long-term growth strategies for new products or services. It also provides them with business strategies to assess consumer demand, challenges, and potential markets.

A*Star is now extending this to consortiums. Working with trade associations and chambers, it will develop technology roadmaps for groups of local firms in the same sub-sector. Participating firms can use these shared roadmaps as templates, customising them for their own needs.

A*Star has piloted consortium roadmaps in food manufacturing and logistics, and will hold workshops for other sectors in line with the ITMs.

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SINGAPORE BUDGET 2018

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