Mobile Drawer
  • Social Media Icon
  • Social Media Icon
  • Social Media Icon

Updates on the SME Centre Programme

  • Date
    05 Apr 2017
  • In This Story
  • Reference Number NR/06/2017

SME Centre 2013 to 2016 Achievements

  1. The SME Centres were introduced in 2013 as one-stop centres where SMEs can receive free business advice and streamlined access to government schemes.

  2. Since then, the SME Centres collectively assisted over 20,000 SMEs every year through one-on-one advisory sessions, capability workshops and outreach events. Majority of the SMEs assisted were micro and small enterprises (i.e. less than S$1 million in annual revenue, and between S$1 million and S$10 million in annual revenue respectively).

  3. Popular advisory areas that SMEs received help in include setting up a business, business development, hiring and training, productivity improvement, as well as capability development and operations. While the number of SMEs that received advice on setting up a business and business development remained consistent across the years, the number of SMEs supported by SME Centres in capability development and operations nearly tripled from about 600 in 2013 to 1,700 in 2016. The number of SMEs that received advice on productivity improvement also nearly doubled from about 800 SMEs in 2013 to 1,500 in 2016.

  4. One such company that received help from the SME Centres is The Sole Clinic, a physiotherapy and podiatry specialist centre. The company was facing challenges in hiring suitable staff and was also keen to improve its business processes. Following business diagnosis and advisory sessions conducted by a business advisor from SME Centre@SMF, the clinic introduced flexi-working hours to resolve its manpower issues for support staff. In addition, the company implemented a 3D scanning technology which reduced the time needed for its insoles prescription process from 20 minutes to three minutes per patient. At the advice of the business advisor, The Sole Clinic also trained its staff in digital marketing to improve their online presence. This resulted in a 30 percent increase in its customer base and a 70 percent increase in revenue.

    Role of SME Centre in Today’s Business Environment

  5. The SME Centres will continue to enhance their services to help SMEs prepare for the future. In view of changes in technology and market conditions, SMEs will need to develop strong capabilities in order to adapt, stay resilient and achieve sustainable growth.

  6. To facilitate this, SME Centres will focus on helping SMEs achieve their business objectives in the next five years through the following initiatives:

    Group-based Upgrading Projects
  7. Recognising that greater impact can be achieved when common business challenges are addressed collectively, SME Centres will drive group-based upgrading projects for SMEs.

  8. SMEs in the same vicinity or trade may face similar issues. As individual owners running a business, they may also face resource constraints in their capability upgrading and growth efforts. By pooling resources and ideas, SMEs can find solutions to common problems and overcome these challenges together.

  9. SMEs are strongly encouraged to approach SME Centre business advisors for free business diagnosis and advisory services. SME Centres will aggregate common capability needs identified through these sessions, and facilitate group-based solutions through collaboration with partners and vendors. Eligible projects may be supported by SPRING Singapore’s Collaborative Industry Projects (CIP) initiative.

  10. One such ongoing project is facilitated by the SME Centre@NorthWest for retailers at the Bangkit Neighbourhood Centre in Bukit Panjang. With support from NorthWest Community Development Council, the SME Centre helped to identify and roll out space optimisation solutions for over 50 heartland retailers as part of a revitalisation plan for the Bangkit estate. When completed, the project is expected to result in a 30 percent increase in space optimisation and a 25 percent in man hours required for stock management for participating SMEs. There are plans to implement 10 such group-based upgrading projects, benefitting around 300 to 500 SMEs, each year.

    Digital Technology Adoption
  11. In line with the Committee on the Future Economy’s recommendation for SMEs to build strong digital capabilities and adopt technology in order to access more business opportunities, SME Centres will help local companies identify and implement suitable ready-to-go technology packs under the SME Go Digital Programme.

  12. As announced at Budget 2017, SMEs can approach business advisors at the SME Centres for advice on off-the-shelf technology solutions that are proven to benefit SMEs. This includes ready-to-go technology packages developed by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and SPRING Singapore, as well as solutions that are pre-approved by the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) for funding support. Examples of such solutions include digital ordering and payment solutions, and supply chain optimisation tools.

  13. The SME Centres will also collaborate with industry partners such as trade associations and chambers to conduct tailored workshops to meet the needs of SMEs. The SME Centre @ ASME, for instance, has worked with the Singapore Productivity Centre and the Restaurant Association of Singapore to develop a series of customised, free workshops for F&B micro-enterprises on areas like branding, marketing and human resource management.

  14. Apart from these initiatives, SME Centres will continue to provide basic business and upgrading advice to SMEs through one-on-one business advisory, and help SMEs strengthen their capabilities through business diagnosis and capability workshops.