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Singapore, Germany tie-up to help local and German SMEs transform, deepen business ties

ENTERPRISE Singapore (ESG) and the Asia-Pacific Committee of German Business (APA) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to support enterprise development in sectors of common interest for the two countries, the organisations said in a joint media statement on Thursday.

The MOU is part of a suite of initiatives to deepen business ties and technical exchange between Singapore and Germany. These initiatives include the Germany Singapore Business Forum (GSBF) which was organised twice over the last four years and helped raise interest among Singapore companies to explore opportunities in Germany.

Under the MOU, ESG and APA will support enterprise development through industrial and digital transformation in sectors such as advanced manufacturing, digitalisation and innovation, medical technology and healthcare, and future of mobility. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the two countries will get to collaborate in open innovation and jointly access market opportunities in South-east Asia and Europe.

The MOU also covers a refreshed version of the GSBF called GSBF Connect that ESG and APA will co-organise to facilitate more frequent collaborations between companies in the two countries. GSBF Connect will comprise sector-specific events held throughout the year, with the first edition dedicated to the manufacturing sector and set to run virtually during Industrial Transformation Asia-Pacific (ITAP) 2020 on Oct 21.

The second edition will take place during the Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology on Dec 9.

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Said Peter Ong, chairman of Enterprise Singapore and co-chair of GSBF Connect: "In this changing business environment, our enterprises need to connect with one another in more and better ways."

The MOU will help cement the commitment between Germany and Singapore to help companies collaborate and leverage each other's strengths, he added.

Axel Stepken, chairman of the management board of TUV SUD AG and co-chair of GSBF Connect, said German companies see Singapore as a proven long-term partner they can develop new technologies and innovative business models with, as well as an "experienced bridge builder" into Asean.

"Singapore has a strong record as a leading R&D (research and development) hub and digital trendsetter, while German companies are known for their ability to manufacture state-of-the-art machinery and products. I still see many fields and sectors in which we can bring our specific strengths together," Prof Stepken said.

The number of business missions to Germany led by Enterprise Singapore rose from 13 in 2018 to 22 in 2019. The 2019 missions benefited more than 150 companies across sectors including advanced manufacturing, medical technology and healthcare, future of mobility and e-sports.

Other collaborations between Singapore and Germany include the Germany-Singapore SME Funding Programme, which has facilitated partnerships like the one between Singapore firm Moveon Technologies and German company Vanguard Automation in 2018.

On Oct 14, a new four-way partnership was announced between Singapore Polytechnic, German testing, inspection and certification company TUV SUD, Delta Electronics and Singapore's Smart I4.0 Transformation Alliance (SiTA). They will work together to guide Singapore manufacturers through an Advanced Manufacturing Learning Journey, with TUV SUD providing assessments, SiTA and Delta Electronics supplying customised technology solutions and Singapore Polytechnic conducting the relevant workforce upskilling programmes.

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