In Budget 2021, Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) & Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat assured workers and businesses that the government will continue to provide them with support where needed.
He went on to announce a slew of schemes and initiatives, targeted at different sectors of our economy, to help them emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis. DPM Heng also stressed that it is vital for those in a good position to give back to the community.
In this article, we feature 11 businesses that were mentioned by DPM Heng in his Budget 2021 speech and how other companies can follow in their footsteps.
#1 BCG Digital Ventures
BCG Digital Ventures is a corporate investment and incubation firm that helps companies invent, build, and scale industry-disrupting businesses.
In his speech, DPM Heng mentioned that BCG Digital Ventures collaborated with Olam, a Singapore food and agricultural multinational to build Jiva, a farmer services platform that helps farmers in developing countries to increase crop yield, access credit, and connect directly to buyers. This venture helps to meet the rising global food demand, while increasing the income of farmers.
He explained that larger businesses who wish to start another venture can tap on the Corporate Venture Launchpad, a platform which he plans to invest in to drive new innovative ventures. The Corporate Venture Launchpad will provide co-funding for corporates to build new ventures through pre-qualified venture studios such as BCG Digital Ventures.
TraceSafe is a global leader in wearable safety tech that includes contact tracing and quarantine management. It uses real-time location management services and contact tracing solutions enabled through advanced low-power bluetooth beacons.
DPM Heng mentioned that TraceSafe was one of the companies who is on the Open Innovation Platform (OIP). Through OIP, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) was matched with TraceSafe, and two other service providers, that helped to develop real-time systems that helped construction site owners conduct contact tracing and health monitoring of their workers.
The Open Innovation Platform (OIP) is a virtual platform that facilitates the matching of problems faced by companies and public agencies, to solution providers with different expertise. The OIP hosts Innovation Calls every few months for solution providers. Each challenge is accompanied with a monetary reward for winning solutions that are selected based on the criteria of the business with the problem.
WaveScan is a Singapore startup specialising in sensor technology. They provide an end-to-end AI-enabled asset inspection solution that addresses the specific needs of the built environment sector.
DPM Heng cited WaveScan as one of the companies who has benefitted from the Global Innovation Alliance (GIA). Through the platform, WaveScan had managed to attract investments from Leave a Nest, a GIA operating partner in Tokyo and started a partnership with A.L.I. Technologies, a Japanese company that specialises in unmanned miniature aircrafts.
The Global Innovation Alliance (GIA) is a network of Singapore and overseas partners in major innovation hubs and key demand markets, that focuses on technology and innovation. GIA Acceleration Programmes will support Singapore startups and SMEs that plan to venture abroad as well as international startups that wish to scale up their businesses in Asia through Singapore.
Xnergy is a Singapore deep-tech startup that pioneers leading wireless technology in the areas of automatic guided vehicles (AGV), Robotics and electric vehicles (EV) applications globally.
DPM Heng shared that through the Co-Innovation Programme (CIP), Xnergy was able to partner with Balyo, a French multinational, to co-develop contactless charging systems for forklifts.
The Co-Innovation Programme (CIP) assists companies with their growth and internationalisation, by supporting projects that catalyse cross-border collaboration on technology development and co-innovation. The CIP will be included into the GIA and the enhanced programme will support up to 70% of qualifying costs for cross-border innovation and partnership projects.
Sembcorp is a focused energy and urban group in Singapore. It provides the government and other businesses with solutions to pressing issues such as rising energy needs, diminishing water resources and the challenges of urbanisation.
DPM Heng mentioned that the Kendal Industrial Park, launched as a joint investment between Sembcorp and Indonesia’s PT Jababeka has helped to build up activities in food processing, building materials, and medical equipment manufacturing, amongst other sectors.
He added that Singapore will also continue to enhance infrastructure investments in the ASEAN region and has plans to start doing so with our immediate neighbours – Iskandar Malaysia in Johor, the islands of Batam, Bintan, and Karimun in the Riau Islands.
#6 Tim Ho Wan
Tim Ho Wan is a Hong Kong Michelin-star dim sum restaurant chain with franchises in 12 countries.
Tim Ho Wan was cited as an example of a company who had successfully redesigned jobs in Singapore. By working with NTUC’s e2i to modernise what was previously tedious manual ordering, tabulation reporting, the restaurant chain managed to save 20-30% in man-hours.
DPM Heng stressed the importance of job redesign and added that he will be enhancing the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG). The PSG supports companies that are keen on adopting IT solutions and equipment to enhance business processes. Eligible businesses can tap on the enhanced PSG which provides a maximum support level of up to 80% till 31 March 2022 (previously 30 September 2021).
SGInnovate is a deep technology investment company. It aims to aid entrepreneurs in building technology-intensive solutions that are globally relevant, with research-based IP as the foundation, through Singapore’s innovation ecosystem.
Mentioned in the budget as the first partner of the new Innovation and Enterprise Fellowship Programme (IFP), the company had recently launched PowerX Robotics to develop local talent for the fast-growing robotics and automation sector. Trainees will undergo a 9-month programme to learn and apply robotics-related skills on real-world projects, and are thereafter placed with their respective host companies to drive innovation.
The new Innovation and Enterprise Fellowship Programme (IFP) is a full-time programme ranging from 6 to 18 months. Companies that apply to be an IFP partner will be assessed on their track record in supporting deep-tech startups, as well as the quality of their proposed training programme.
Singtel needs no introduction, as one of Asia’s leading communications technology group.
The company was mentioned in DPM Heng’s speech as an example of a strong corporate advocate for employee volunteerism. From helping children and youth lead independent lives to equipping the elderly with digital knowledge, Singtel employees have been actively engaging the community they serve.
To encourage more corporate volunteerism, the Business and IPC Partnership Scheme (BIPS) will be extended for another two years, until the end of 2023. Eligible businesses will in total receive a 250% tax deduction on the qualifying expenditure incurred, subject to the receiving IPC’s agreement.
Another business that has contributed to our community is N-Lab – a local surgical mask manufacturing facility. Surgical masks produced by N-Lab meet medical standards set by CE, ISO, FDA, and all other quality agencies.
The founders invested close to $1 million of their own capital to design and manufacture masks, and donated many of them to the community. Their kind act was commended by DPM Heng during his speech.
#10 Aquaculture Centre of Excellence (ACE)
Aquaculture Centre of Excellence Pte Ltd (ACE) aims to evolutionise fish farming through an eco-friendly, cost effective and sustainable method.
DPM Heng shared that funding support from the Agriculture Productivity Fund has allowed ACE to innovate and patent “Eco-Ark”. With advanced aquaculture technologies, Eco-Ark is able to produce 20 times more output than average coastal fish farms.
Businesses in the agri-food sector will be pleased to know that $60 million will be set aside for a new Agri-Food Cluster Transformation Fund, which will replace the existing Agriculture Productivity Fund.
#11 Durapower Technology Group
Durapower is a global technology company that specialises in research, design, manufacturing and system integration of advanced lithium battery technology for automotive and energy storage systems. Used in more than 45 cities in over 20 countries across the world, Durapower is now diversifying into marine and stationary energy storage segments, and further expanding overseas.
Cited as an example of a business that has seized opportunities for growth in the green economy, DPM Heng mentioned that Durapower currently works with NTU to develop high-energy density lithium-ion battery cells that are lightweight, and have higher power density for fast charging capabilities in electric vehicles.
To support businesses to seize new opportunities in the green economy, the government will be launching the Enterprise Sustainability Programme. More details will be announced by MTI in the upcoming months.
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