In its 2019 budget, the Singapore government announced several initiatives to continue building enterprise capabilities. It is allocating an additional SGD 100 million (USD 74 million) for the SME CoInvestment Fund III, to continue supporting firms in their efforts to scale up and internationalize. The SME Co-Investment Fund III will continue the work of the earlier SME Co-Investment Funds. the Co-Investment Programme (CIP) was launched in 2010, comprising the SME Catalyst Fund (CF) and SME Co-Investment Fund (CIF). The SME Mezzanine Growth Fund (MF) and SME Co-Investment Fund II (CIF 2) were subsequently launched in 2014. To date, the Government has set aside SGD 400 million (USD 296 million) of government capital through these funds, to be invested alongside private sector capital into local SMEs. This has catalyzed approximately SGD 1.3 billion (USD 963 million) of additional funding for our SMEs. Similar to existing funds under the CIP, Temasek Holdings will participate as a co-investor in the SME Co-Investment Fund III.
The government is also launching an Enterprise Financing Scheme (EFS) streamlining eight existing SME financing schemes- (i) SME Equipment Loan, (ii) SME Factory Loan, (iii) SME Working Capital Loan, (iv) SME Micro Loan, (v) SME Micro Loan for Young Companies, (vi) SME Venture Loan, (vii) Internationalization Finance Scheme, and (viii) Loan Insurance Scheme Plus- into one scheme to help Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs) and SMEs navigate between the various financing schemes. The EFS is expected to be launched in October 2019.
A new Innovation Agents program is being launched as a two-year pilot for enterprises to obtain advice on innovation opportunities from experienced industry professionals. Enterprise Singapore will identify individuals with deep expertise in technology, strong track record in growing businesses, and access to global industry networks. These Innovation Agents will be matched with enterprises that aspire to use technology to improve existing businesses or build new ones. Innovation Agents will provide mentorship to enterprises to identify innovation opportunities, and facilitate connections to valuable technology and business partners. Further details on the Innovation Agents program are expected to be released later this year.
(Sources: Straits Times; Singapore government press releases)