Singapore govt-backed fund could help plug growth financing gap

In a special interview with former Singapore politician and entrepreneur advocate, Inderjit Singh, he talks about how the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Singapore is largely shaped by government policies, reforms, and regulations to better support such enterprises. Importantly, cost structures such as property rentals and land costs have to be rein in.

Singh shared his personal experience on how he formed a committee on my own to study the financing landscape in Singapore. He managed to rope in entrepreneurs, banks and even government representatives to be part of the committee. The Recommendation for Financing of SMEs was then published in 2002 after Singh and his team travelled widely in search of plausible methods of SME financing. The government got word of the published paper and asked for Singh to communicate these findings to them and thereafter accepted most, if not all of the recommendations stated in the paper. In the next 10 years, these suggestions were then implemented gradually to help growing SMEs go global.

Singh also spoke on how there may be a distortion in the kind of incentives offered by local government and non-government agencies. He believes that these agencies have their own KPIs and works exclusively in silos. While Singh argues that these funding opportunities is not entirely bad as it still largely drives the formation of more companies, Professor Wong Poh Kam offers a slightly different perspective. Singh and Wong are in agreement on one thing though. That funding goes into building gazelles, rather than zombie companies could propel Singapore’s entrepreneurial ecosystem forward.

See here for SME SPRING loans.

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Budget 2018: SMEC suggests to develop startups into unicorns

Recently, the SME Committee (SMEC) submitted a proposal to the Government as part of the Budget 2018. The proposal included plans to offer incentives to attract startups with the potential to be unicorns, to set up headquarters in Singapore.

Through tax incentives, government grants, tax deductions, and rebates, private companies are better able to conduct its research and development and create more jobs for the Singapore economy and Singaporeans. Intellectual property (IP) holding and other key functions are to be housed in Singapore, are criteria, amongst others, for the private company to enjoy incentives offered by the Government.

Further support for IP acquisition financing for IP assets, and the acquisition of IP-owning companies was also included in the proposal as an expansion of the Intellectual Property Financing Scheme (IPFS). The SMEC also called for greater accessibility to government schemes, enhancements of the Business Grant Portal and the SME Portal to guide SMEs through the processes and requirements.

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