SMEs in Singapore | 2020 Definitive List of SME Related Resources for SME Owners

SMEs in Singapore – This article is for SME owners who want an exhaustive list of resources for 2020.  

Do bookmark this page and share this with your other SME friends.  Do drop us comments in the section below if you have other SME resources that you think would be good for us to add to this list.

UOB research in 1Q2017 estimated that SMEs contribute to 49% of the GDP in Singapore and there were in 2017 approximately 180,000 SMEs in Singapore[1].  We believe that SMEs in Singapore will continue to play a vital part of the economy.

What is an SME

Enterprise Singapore defines a small and medium enterprise in Singapore as:

  • A Company registered and operating in Singapore;
  • Have minimum 30% local shareholding; AND
  • Company’s Group annual sales turnover not more than S$100 million; OR
  • Company’s Group employment size not more than 200 workers

Singapore is facing an uncertain economic outlook and as a community project, we have decided to put together a list of resources that every SME Owner would find useful and have categories them under the following broad headers. 

#1- Offline networking and trade associations

If you are running a business in Singapore, you will realise that Singapore is a good spring board to help you expand regionally.  We have set out some of the trade associations below to allow you to find collaboration partners in your regional expansion quest.

There are many trade associations in Singapore and we have set out some of the larger ones in Singapore.  Do let us know if you would like your trade association to be added to the list by leaving us a comment below.

Singapore Foreign Trade Associations

The British Chamber of commerce looks at UK Businesses doing business in Singapore.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce aims to foster expansion of trade between Canada and Singapore businesses.

The French Chamber of commerce aims to support the French business community in Singapore.

The Korean Chamber of Commerce Singapore helps to build trade ties between Korean companies and Singapore companies in Singapore.

The Singapore German chamber of commerce aims to be the first port of call for German business coming to Singapore to help them expand into Asia.

The Vietcham is a non-partisan, independent business organization. It aims to provide business insights, advocacy, network and connections. Our membership includes Vietnamese companies, Singaporean and 3rd-country companies with strong business interests in Vietnam.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce in Singapore is an organization set up to foster ties between Australian companies and Singapore.

The European Chamber of Commerce Singapore aims to grow ties between the companies in the Eurozone and Singapore.

Daria Shevtsova at Pexels

Singapore Local Trade Associations

The Singapore International Chamber of Commerce is the oldest trade association and chamber in Singapore.

The Singapore Business Federation (SBF) is the apex business chamber championing the interests of the Singapore business community in the areas of trade

The association of small and medium enterprises is a champion association for SME businesses in Singapore.

The Singapore Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry looks after Malay companies in Singapore.

The Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry is the apex chamber of commerce for Chinese companies in Singapore.

The Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry is the apex business chamber for Indian companies in Singapore.

The Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF) is the largest national organisation representing the interests of manufacturing and manufacturing-related industries since 1932.

Singapore Chamber of Commerce and Industry aims to promote Entrepreneurial Activities To Help Enterprises Succeed.  Making Good Entrepreneur Better

Cross border trade associations

This is the China Enterprise Association which is the association of China State Owned Enterprises in Singapore.

The Singapore China Association aims to foster Singapore China business and trade flows.

The Singapore China Business Association aims to promote economic and trade development and relationship between Singapore and China.  If you would like to meet up with all the China regional governmental representatives with commercial offices in Singapore, do speak to SCBA as its corporate membership has all these China trade representatives as members.

The Singapore China Friendship Association was founded in 1993 after a suggestion by the then Chinese Ambassador to Singapore in 1992.  Today it promotes cross border ties with China.

The Hong Kong Singapore Business Association aims to promote cross border trade between Singapore and Hong Kong.

This is an association for Malaysians in Singapore and is organized under the auspices of the Malaysian Embassy in Singapore.

Indonesia Business Club: This is a group for networking amongst Singaporeans and Indonesian businessman in Singapore.  IBC Singapore members comprising primarily eminent businessmen, entrepreneur and professionals, IBC exists for you to network, extend your business contacts and provide a platform for vast business opportunities.

Bisa is a networking platform for Indonesians in Singapore.

#2- Singapore Government Grants

This section aims to have a quick overview of some Government Grants (there are many and will probably be the subject of a separate blog post)

Startup SG Founder

This is the equity injection where the SG government will fund a new founder who has not set up any company previously with an amount to inject as that’s founder’s equity contribution.  This is good for any startup founder to try something new.

Startup SG Tech

The objective of the scheme is to drive the growth of startups based on proprietary technology and to foster the spirit of deep-tech innovation among startups. The grant offered to startups is to speed-up both development and commercialisation of proprietary technology and promote the growth of innovative and scalable startup models. Under the scheme, qualifying companies may receive early stage funding to help them develop and commercialise their innovations.

The scheme offers grants to support two stages of innovation projects – Proof of Concept (POC) and Proof of Value (POV). Depending on the stage of development, startups can apply for grants under the scheme.

The grant is capped at S$250,000 and S$500,000 for POC and POV respectively. In order to anchor the applicant’s commitment in the project, the scheme requires successful recipient companies to increase the paid up capital by 10% and 20% of the grant for POC and POV respectively.

For SG Companies

Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG)

This is useful for companies to kick-startup technology adoption using IMDA pre-qualified tech solutions to increase productivity.

Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) Grant

This is a grant to help Singapore companies expand overseas.  Helps with overseas partner matching and overseas market promotion.

Enterprise Development Grant (EDG)

This is quite a popular SG grant scheme to help companies transform their business, innovate and globalize.

International Co-Innovation Programmes

This scheme aims to encourage companies to do cross border collaboration on projects on technology development and co-innovation.

Land Productivity Grant (LPG)

This helps companies with land relocation costs.

SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit (SFEC)

The Singapore government is deploying a large budget to fund skills training and transformation of employees.  Companies should spend some time to look into this.

Specialised Cleaning Programme

This grant is to help companies looking to defray costs of disinfection arising from confirmed COVID-19 cases on their premise.

#3- Singapore SME Financing Schemes from Enterprise Singapore

The Enterprise Singapore SME financing schemes have been rolled out to help SMEs.  Some of the key schemes are set out below:

Enterprise Financing Scheme (EFS)

This scheme aims to help companies for both domestic and overseas activities.

Temporary Bridging Loan Programme

This is a temporary scheme to help with the cash flow needs of companies affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Internationalisation Finance Scheme (IFS) – Non-Recourse

This scheme helps to back Mid-sized SG Companies when they go locally and regionally to expand and do projects.

Loan Insurance Scheme (LIS)

This helps insure banks against the insolvency risks of borrower.

Political Risk Insurance Scheme (PRIS)

This scheme pays 50% of political risk insurance premiums for SG companies venturing overseas.

Trade Credit Insurance Scheme (TCIS)

This scheme protects companies against cash flow issues arising from situations beyond control such as non-payment from buyers.

#4- Singapore Equity Funding

If your company is in the tech sector or you can spin off a division of your existing business into a “Startup”, this link is for you to study and keep handy.

For other groups of investors, we have some of the key groups below:

Angel Investment Groups

For other forms of fund raising, do contact us to learn more about our network of investors and other forms of funding.

In conclusion, building a SME Business in Singapore is a tough one and we hope to help you along your way.

Please feel free to bookmark this page and share this page with your other SME owner friends on the social media platforms.  Do also leave us a comment below if you would like to suggest other resources that would be useful for SMEs in Singapore.

About Raffles CPA

Raffles CPA is a niche professional firm headquartered in Singapore with a relentless dedication to help global and local clients in solving their complex business problems in areas of corporate services, accounting, capital market, legal and compliance.

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