The Budget that was recently announced on 18th February has rolled out several key initiatives in favour of enabling business continuity amidst the ongoing epidemic and looming recession.

Armed with three primary objectives of Enabling stronger partnerships, Deepening enterprise capabilities and Developing the skills of Singaporeans, let’s dive right in to the upcoming packages and newly launched initiatives that businesses in Singapore can look forward to in the year ahead.

Enabling Stronger Partnerships

Executive-in-Residence Programme *new*

Enterprise Singapore will launch a pilot Executive-in-Residence programme, that funds more than 10 Trade Associations and Chambers (TACs) covering all sectors of the economy, to engage experienced professionals with relevant expertise, and to match them to businesses to assist in transformation, capability building, and internationalisation efforts.

More details to be shared at the MTI Committee of Supply (COS).

Deepening Enterprise Capabilities

Enterprise Grow Package

The Enterprise Grow Package comprises of three core developments, two of which are enhancements to existing initiatives.

  1. Launch of the GoBusiness Platform, a *new* initiative that aims to streamline all business transactions with the Government. Some features of the platform that businesses can start to utilise it for include applications for Licenses and streamlined access to Government Assistance on the various schemes.
  2. Expansion of the SMEs Go Digital programme by rolling out Industry Digital Plans across more industries that have yet to be available.
  3. Enhancement of the Market Readiness Assistance grant by expanding supportable activities to include Free Trade Agreement (FTA) consultancy services to support companies in better leveraging FTAs, and in-market business development.

More details to be shared at the MTI Committee of Supply (COS).

Grow Digital *new*

Businesses are encouraged to get a headstart in global expansion, with support to leverage global digital marketplaces for access to a larger pool of consumers overseas, and to test new markets. Businesses will also receive training and support to enhance their e-commerce capabilities.

Workforce Development

Jobs Support Scheme *new*

The Jobs Support Scheme is a temporary scheme for 2020 and it serves to help enterprises retain their local employees during the upcoming period of uncertainty. All active employers, with the exception of Government organisations and representative offices, are eligible for this.

Employers can expect to receive an 8% cash grant on the gross monthly wages of each local employee (applicable to Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents only) for the months of October 2019 to December 2019, subject to a monthly wage cap of $3,600 per employee.

The JSS payment will be made from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) by 31 July 2020.

Enterprise Leadership for Transformation Programme *new*

The Enterprise Leadership for Transformation programme is a newly launched three-year pilot that supports business leaders of promising SMEs in achieving the next bound of growth. The programme is expected to offer:

  • Structured modular training in business growth capabilities, with focus on using frameworks and case studies to address actual business problems;
  • Coaching by advisors and industry practitioners, who will guide business leaders in the development of a business growth plan;
  • Access to alumni engagement and networking, to enable peer learning and collaboration; and
  • Support for implementation of business growth plans, depending on the respective needs of individual businesses.

This will be delivered in partnership with Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs), banks, and experienced industry experts.

More details to be shared at the MTI Committee of Supply (COS).

Skillsfuture Enterprise Credit *new*

The Skillsfuture Enterprise Credit encourages employers to undertake enterprise and workforce transformation initiatives in tandem. Eligible employers will receive a one-off $10,000 credit to cover up to 90% of out-of-pocket expenses for supportable enterprise capability development and workforce transformation programmes involved in business transformation, job redesign, and skills training.

This is not a comprehensive list, but with a relatively large allocation of support for up-skilling and re-training, it appears that there is great emphasis this year on minimising the redundancies of employees. Based on our observations, this is the best time for businesses to look into building up the capabilities and maximise productivity of their employees in preparation for when the economy picks up again after the lull.