Thursday, March 29, 2012

SPRING Singapore to provide more help for SMEs

SINGAPORE: SPRING Singapore plans to assist more than 20,000 small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) every year from 2012.

This will be carried out through their Enterprise Development Centres (EDCs).

Last year, EDCs provided business and productivity advisory services to 14,200 SMEs.

Among the services that EDCs provide is to help SMEs tap on the government's Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC).



Working jointly with the Inland Revenue Authority (IRAS), EDCs advise SMEs on how to file tax claims for productivity and innovation expenditures.

This year, these agencies aim to assist more than 500 SMEs tap on the PIC scheme. One feature of the PIC scheme is that businesses can enjoy deduction or allowances at 400 per cent on up to S$400,000 of their expenditure per year on each of the six qualifying activities.

Last year, EDCs assisted some 300 SMEs to claim for PIC benefits.

Minister of State for Trade & Industry Teo Ser Luck said: "I hope that the business sector can respond back and engage together with us in this whole journey and we want to work with every single business wherever you are. Whether it's SPRING or IE Singapore overseas, we are all ready to work together.

"Sometimes the engagement process may be a little bit lacking? but nevertheless let's give ourselves some time to work it out. I think this economic transformation is necessary because with so much uncertainty, we want to make sure the certainty of jobs and your business survival will be there."

SME owners said with rising business costs they have no choice but to improve productivity.

This is where the services of EDCs may come in handy.

Freshening Industries executive director Jonathan Phoon Siew Boon said: "We can see that the business cost is rising so productivity is the name of the game at this point of time. It's very clearly that while revenue is growing, the net profit is actually suffering. This presents a very challenging environment for us."

As part of its outreach, SPRING Singapore will launch an iPhone application for SMEs.

This is to provide easier access to government services such as government grants, assistance, information and resources.

Chew Mok Lee, Group Director of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at SPRING Singapore, said: "The government is supportive of this effort, and through this mobile app application, we'll put this information available to them. They can tap on it and use the government programme to improve the performance of the company."

Experts said this is a good move and is in line with the growing tech savvy SME owners in Singapore.

- CNA/fa

View the original article here

Source From Channel News Asia

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