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White Beehoon Restaurant, Nam Ho Travel among SMEs in new leadership programme

THE Enterprise Leadership for Transformation programme, first announced during the Budget in February, was launched on Wednesday with 60 business leaders from 38 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in its first run.

The government aims to train 900 leaders of SMEs over the next three years under the programme. It is targeted at businesses that have hit at least S$5 million in revenue, and that are local business entities with local shareholdings of at least 30 per cent.

The programme costs at least S$30,000 per participant, although up to 90 per cent of it can be subsidised by Enterprise Singapore (ESG) and SkillsFuture Singapore.

The 38 SMEs, including Nam Ho Travel and Capitol Optical, are from various industries including manufacturing, consumer and wholesale trade. Speaking at the launch event, ESG chief executive Png Cheong Boon said that some of them, like Fish International Sourcing House, are traditional businesses looking to create new products and services.

Others, such as Zyfas Medical, Zero Spot Laundry Service and White Beehoon Restaurant, are domestic enterprises looking to expand their overseas footprint, Mr Png added.

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Under the one-year programme, the companies will undergo in-class training comprising modules and case studies. There will also be coaching on developing a growth plan, customised for each company. Participants will also go on a week-long market immersion trip, subject to Covid-related travel restrictions.

Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, also speaking at the event, said that the government is gradually pivoting towards spending more resources to support local enterprises, now that concerns of employment amid the pandemic have largely been addressed.

But he noted that the support is not just about providing grants or subsidies to help firms preserve what they have, but to provide them with opportunities to transform. This could be by creating new goods and services, or selling in new ways.

It is only then that firms can achieve a "real breakthrough", Mr Chan added.

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