COVID-19 has been extremely disruptive to businesses. Many have understandably gone into preservation mode through aggressive cost-cutting measures to postpone investments into the business and by retrenching employees. At the same time, they are aided by massive government wage support, especially through the Job Support Scheme (JSS).
Staying afloat during the current pandemic is important. Having the greatest business plan will mean nothing if businesses are not being able to survive in the short-term.
However, businesses also have to consider the opposite – surviving in the short-term can mean just a slow death for businesses that do not use this opportunity to build digital capabilities, improve their workforce and position for growth today.
Planning For Business Growth Beyond The Pandemic
While the latest statistics from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) points to a continuing slowdown in the jobs market, the positives lie in the fact that more than 117,500 opportunities has been created under the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package – surpassing the 100,000 target. This shows that businesses may have the openings, but that the workforce may not have the right skills.
This week, Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Heng Swee Keat also delivered the October 2020 Ministerial Statement – announcing some enhancements and extensions of support measures to companies and individuals. Underscoring the announcement was the government’s three-pronged approach to refresh the Singapore economy post-COVID-19.
#1 Singapore as a Global-Asia node of technology, innovation and enterprise. This means staying connected in Asia and the world even as more economies are turning inwards.
#2 Fostering inclusive growth – by having a strong and skilled workforce.
#3 Investing in economic resilience and sustainability. This will introduce new areas of growth in green technologies, sustainable businesses and the shift towards a lower-carbon and more resource-constrained world.
Support For The Recovery Ahead
Besides salary support, the government is encouraging businesses to train your employees through many schemes and grants. This allows companies to take advantage of the current poor business sentiments to train staff who may have more idle time and capable to take on more responsibilities in the company.
In turn, this will ready the company for the recovery when the economy turns.
There are several schemes businesses can turn to when planning for the future. The Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) encourages companies still coping well to bring forward growth plans by hiring more employees.
Initiatives like the Enhanced Training Support Package (ETSP) provides subsidies for training programmes as well as Absentee Payroll (AP) funding to offset employee salary when they go for training. For any out-of-pocket training costs, business can also tap on the SkillsFuture Enterprise Credits (SFEC) to cover up to 90% of their cash outlay.
There are also schemes such as the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) to onboard digital processes and technology to replace outdated processes and implement a new productivity drive, and the Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) to support companies in the innovation and going overseas, and there are many more scheme available – companies just have to look for it on the Gov Assist website.
There’s only so much that the government schemes and grants can do to propel businesses forward. Businesses need to continue innovating and pursuing new opportunities to compete in Singapore, the region and globally.
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