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Singapore Assists SMEs Through Innovative Policies And Strategies

Small and medium-scale enterprises are one of the most important segments of any country that play a vital role in fueling the growth of the economy. The Singapore government recognizes the importance of these SMEs and comes up with new policies and strategies in order to support the sector better. The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) has already unveiled a number of policies in order to assist SMEs and help them achieve their target market efficiently.

Existing policies have been carefully analysed and scrutinized in order to check its effectiveness. In April 2002, a review of these strategies and policies has been carried out by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), SPRING Singapore and International Enterprise (IE) Singapore along with the stakeholders from the SME community. The purpose of this review is to make better policies to strengthen the business processes SMEs, help them grow amidst tough competition and overcome be ready to face biggest challenges they go through.

Primarily, these SMEs seek support from the government to set up policies that encourage growth in three major areas. The authorities have rolled over a new SME Talent Programme in order to pitch new talents from the Institute of Technical Education and Polytechnics to work with SMEs after graduation. Another initiative SMEs can appreciate are better growth opportunities, programmes to provide support, increase the internationalization, group effort between large enterprises and smaller ones. The final policy or strategy of the government is to provide better business environment by implementing SPRING’s assistance schemes for SME and turning out the Enterprise Development Centers as a one-stop for all solutions and better SME Centers.

The government has stated during the Budget 2013 the unveiling the Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) Bonus. Under this policy, companies that decide to invest a minimum of $5,000 in qualifying productivity and innovation activities per year will be awarded a cash bonus which will be equal to the total amount spent. This includes the in-licensing of Intellectual Property (IP), filing for copyright, applying for copyright and such. Through this, SMEs are encouraged to come up and development innovative products without worrying so much about the cost of licensing. SMEs are able to claim a 400% tax rebate and /or 60% cash payment at the time these companies in-license the IP for application in their business. The maximum limit up to which the bonus can be paid is $15,000 over three years of assessment from 2013 to 2015. The companies that are qualified can receive this bonus apart from other benefits from PIC. The bonus will make a big change in cost management of the company as they will be able to save greater cost for executing their productivity enhancement. Also, the SMEs will get a greater capital allowance under PIC to purchase more automation equipment such as basic tools of trade to increase productivity. Additionally, the Government has launched the Partnerships for Capability Transformation (PACT) scheme that enables SMEs to gain more business opportunities.

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