MTI's initiatives to take S'porean enterprise from heartlands to the world

MTI is launching several new initiatives, as well as refreshing and enhancing several new ones.

Tan Min-Wei | February 28, 2023, 05:46 PM

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During the Ministry of Trade & Industry's 2023 Committee of Supply debate, its four office-holders announced new programmes and gave updates of existing ones that help Singaporean businesses grow globally, as well as to decarbonisation and digitalise.

Trade & Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong said, "2023 will likely not be an easier for businesses and the government will not hesitate to provide targeted support when needed. However, we must not lose sight of the longer term future."

Transformation journey

Gan referred to the Singapore Global Enterprises (SGE) initiative, introduced during the 2022 Committee of Supply.

SGE builds on the Scale-Up programme, which launched in 2019 and is a Enterprise Singapore's flagship growth programme, to help high potential enterprises grow and expand globally.

The initiative will help strengthen and deepen companies' capabilities in areas such as digitalisation, sustainability, internationalisation, and growth financing.

It will make innovation a core competitive strategy by assisting in the building of in-house R&D (research and development) and innovation centres; as well as help companies expand globally by growing their market networks, their international footprint, and diversify their supply chain.

It will also help companies develop a strong talent pool through the Singapore Global Executive Programme (SGEP), which aims to boost companies' ability to attract and develop global-ready talent.

Scale-Up X

Also key to the SGE is Scale-Up X, an expansion to Scale-Up SG programme.

Scale-Up X is a range of targeted capability development support which seeks to deepen key capability areas of companies, groom their leadership team, and help their readiness for investments and initial public offerings.

Programs such as Scale-Up and the SGEP will also now be covered by the SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit, a previously introduced program that gives a one-off credit to help with employee transformation.

Heartland innovation

MTI will also launch the Heartland Innovation & Transformation Programme (HIT) as part of its Our Heartlands 2025 initiative, announced Minister of State Low Yen Ling.

HIT is MTI's drive to turn local neighbourhoods into a hotbed of innovation and entrepreneurs, and will provide curated training courses as well as a conducive ecosystem for supporting innovation.

Part of that conducive ecosystem includes more temporary and permanent shop spaces, and will complement existing innovation support and resources.

Some of these affordable and modular spaces will be made available at a pilot site in Ang Mo Kio Town Center, or through direct allocation of HDB vacant shop spaces, including in mature estates, through the HDB Enhance Entrepreneur Scheme.

The scheme allows the spaces to be rented from HDB with a 10 per cent rental discount on the first term of a 3-year tendency.

HIT will be launched in the second half of 2023, and local Enterprises with innovative, consumer-facing businesses can apply  to be assessed for the programme.

Green economy

MTI and Enterprise Singapore are also planning to provide more support for businesses and workers, in order to increase efforts to decarbonise industry and businesses.

With Multi-National Corporations and larger companies are looking to decarbonise, so too will Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in order to remain competitive.

Enterprise SG will expand the Enterprise Sustainability Program, launched in 2021, with new initiatives to help SMEs gain tools and resources to increase sustainability and to access the green economy.

This  includes funding support under the Productivity Solutions Grant for SMEs to adopt carbon accounting solutions, as well as workshops and a Playbook for sustainability reporting, and a One-Stop website for SMEs to more easily gain access to information and resources.

"So if you're an SME keen to measure your carbon emissions, please explore Enterprise SG's productivity solutions grant," MOS Alvin Tan said.

There will also be an enhanced Enterprise Development Grant, with support for up to 70 per cent for sustainability projects until 2026.

A green skills committee will also be set up in order to bring together industry leaders and training providers to jointly develop skills and training programs required for a green economy.

This joint effort between government, industry and training providers is to ensure that workers are equipped with the right skills for new roles in the green economy.

"We will continue to work closely with industry to identify new demand areas for green skills as this platform grows," Gan said.

Renewable energy generation

Second Minister for Trade & Industry Tan See Leng elaborated on Singapore's efforts to develop renewable energy capabilities.

"We are accelerating, as we speak, solar deployment, and we are deploying energy storage systems to store and dispense intermittent solar power at different times to maintain grid reliability," he said.

Singapore has deployed around 800 megawatt-peak of solar power, as compared to around 500 megawatt-peak in mid-2021.

"As of the first half of last year, Singapore is already one of the most solar-dense cities in the world," Tan said.

Tan, who is also Manpower Minister, said that Singapore is on track to achieving a solar panel deployment of at least 2 gigawatt-peak by 2030.

Tan also confirmed that Singapore is exploring if other forms of low carbon energy supply, such as geothermal and nuclear, are suitable. This will also have a knock-on effect in job creation.

"New energy solutions such as solar energy storage systems and smart grids will create more skilled jobs for our workforce, including power system integration engineers and energy storage system software developers," he added.

Industry transformation and digitalisation

Gan also announced the launch of the refreshed Professional Services Industry Transformation Map 2025 (ITM), with two main prongs.

Firstly, EDB will continue to attract company headquarters investments, and with the support of other agencies will assist them in developing and upgrading their corporate functions.

For more established companies who already have significant operations in Singapore, EDB will partner with them to create new revenue pathways outside of the existing core business.

Secondly, the ITM will enhance the competencies of professional services firms in Singapore by driving digitalisation efforts of smaller professional services firms, developing talent with expertise in sustainability and digital space.

It will also support reskilling and redeployment for employees.

The government is also focusing on sub-sectors, such as the legal and accountancy sub-sectors, aiming to uplift their productivity by helping them adopt digital solutions and training employees to use them well.

Professional services SMEs across all sub-sectors can apply for various grants, including the Productivity Solutions Grant, and Enterprise Development Grant.

They can also use IMDA’s Chief Technology Officer-as-a-service, to get tailored digitalisation advice and solutions for their firms.

Top image from MTI Facebook.