Local SMEs welcomed the announcement of the budget for the new fiscal year and hopes to accelerate the pace of development with assistance from various different sectors.

Lianhe Zaobao held a budget business forum on March 8th, inviting Minister of Finance, Mr Heng Swee Keat to interact with industry experts from different fields and discuss the various implications of the budget.

The theme for this forum is “Creating New Business Opportunities through Digital Transformation” and Lianhe Zaobao invited business representatives and economists to share their experiences and how they were able to capture new business opportunities in the digital economy era.

In the recently released budget, the government announced that they will invest S$460 million over the span of the next three years to help companies improve their capabilities and competency of their employees to create a strong and vibrant economy for Singapore.

This includes the Scale-up SG Programme to help companies grow and also the Innovation Agents Programme to drive innovation in individuals. The government will also invest S$10 million to set up a joint venture fund for SMEs to do more investments. In addition, the Automation Support Package and the SME Working Capital Load Scheme will be extended for two years.

Ms Jamie Tan, the founder of Education Technology company Flying Cape, said in an interview with Lianhe Zaobao that the company is expanding its business to the Chinese market and has launched a pilot course for the Chinese tertiary students. She hopes to accelerate the internationalization process with the Singapore Enterprise Expansion Plan.

“Many Chinese students who plan to participate in the US SAT or CAT test are very interested in the local education system here in Singapore. We hope that we can seek industry or legal expert assistance through the Enterprise Expansion Program to achieve the First Mover Advantage in the Chinese market.” said Jamie in her interview.

Mr Derrick Yap, president of Robot Solution provider PBA Group, is pleased with the extension of the SME liquidity loan program. He said that the group is currently investing in some start-up companies, in addition to providing technical assistance, it also helps these small companies to open market sales.

“The SME Liquidity Loan Program makes it easier for eligible companies to apply for loans. I think this measure will enable more SMEs to strengthen cooperation. You can form a consortium and join hands to do something big.” said Derrick in his interview.

Both Jamie and Derrick will share their experiences in digital transformation and innovation at the seminar. Other panellists include Mr Kawee Chong, CEO of the e-commerce platform Kinofy, and Mr Suan Teck Kin, head of Global Economics and Market Research Department at UOB.

Other business leaders participating in the forum are Mr Roland Ng, President of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Mr Zhang Songsheng, Chairman of the Singapore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Mr Douglas Foo, President of the Singapore Manufacturers Association.

The Budget Business Forum, organized by Lianhe Zaobao, has entered its fourth year. The main sponsor of the forum is UOB and the venue partner is The Fullerton Hotel Singapore.

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