Enterprise Singapore (ESG) has begun its operations since April 2018. Since then, the government agency has made clear indications of streamlining processes to help Singapore businesses thrive in a highly competitive environment.
In an interview with The Business Times, Mr Ong, Chairman of Enterprise Singapore, talked about the agency’s objective and plans to help Singapore companies thrive.
We believe that the ultimate goal for local SMEs is to tap on the overseas markets. Singapore’s economy, infrastructure, and business processes are well established for overseas brands.
As we will explore below, we will be talking about the direction of ESG and how SMEs can plan ahead to be aligned with them.
Long-Term Growth Through Innovation and Internationalisation
Enterprise Singapore’s objective is to give SMEs guidance and opportunities to grow their business. The notion comes from the government’s effort to push small companies to think of the bigger picture.
Mr Ong believes that a more comprehensive plan can be developed when innovation and internationalisation are discussed concurrently via a single channel.
Mr Ong said,
“We believe that such a more holistic approach will be better, and in fact, it’s the intended objective of the merger.”
Given Singapore’s minuscule domestic economy, innovative products will experience a steep climb for growth. Such products require a larger market to scale.
Conversely, internationalising with undifferentiated products will not be fruitful. Having a strategy that incorporates the two creates a solid foundation for businesses.
“Innovation and internationalisation are mutually reinforcing pillars,”
Moving forward with the new direction, ESG has also reviewed its predecessors’ processes and grants.
More Business-Friendly Grants
Enterprise Singapore has also made grant applications more business-friendly. These improvements are meant to create a leaner process, in which grants are now applied through a single portal called the Business Grants Portal (BGP).
Local companies will be able to apply for two new grants:
The new Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) is a merger of the Capabilities Development Grant (CDG) and the Global Company Partnership (GCP) grant.
(Current launch date, Q4 2018)
Previous productivity related schemes were also merged to form a single Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG).
(Launched since 1 April 2018)
The EDG aligns with Enterprise Singapore’s overall objective of tackling innovation and internationalisation simultaneously.
Mr Ong mentioned,
“We want enterprises to think international earlier in their life cycle.”
Growth in Regional Opportunities
Mr Ong explained that China is an obvious example of opportunities with the country growing rapidly in both, domestic and international markets.
In neighbouring countries within South-East Asia, middle and upper-class households are expected to double from 67 million in 2010 to 125 million in 2025 (Mckinsey). This projection means that the consumer market will continue to rise.
Enterprise Singapore aims to provide more international opportunities for local companies through Free Trade Agreement (FTA) networks, and Global Innovation Alliance (GIA) offices.
View the full list of Singapore’s implemented FTA’s here.
In the area of innovation, Mr Ong wants domestic companies to be open in announcing their problems but also participate as solution providers. This “push and pull” concept creates a community whereby the nation can pull its resources together to strive for economic growth.