$74 million for SMEs in Singapore: Budget 2019

Good news for SMEs in Singapore. The government has set aside an additional S$100 million (US$74 million) for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This was announced by finance minister Heng Swee Keat in Parliament during his annual budget speech. The fund, dubbed SME Co-Investment Fund III, will be co-invested into startups alongside venture capital firms and private-sector investors.

The government has made more provisions for SMEs. Enterprise Singapore, a government agency that helps local enterprises, will launch a new program called Scale-up SG. It is designed to help startups scale by linking them up with private and public-sector partners. The government will also pilot an Innovation Agents program, which will help companies tap experts who can advise on innovating and commercializing technology.

The SME Working Capital Loan scheme will be extended for two more years till March 2021 by the government. The program offers S$300,000 (US$222,000) in unsecured loans to SMEs. The government will bear 70 percent of loan default risks, up from 50 percent.

New Centers of Innovation (COI) for aquaculture and energy sectors will be set up. Each COI is set up in partnership with polytechnics and research institutes. They provide support for companies looking to deploy specific technologies, supplying anything from laboratory facilities to consultancy and training courses. New Professional Conversion Programs are also being offered for professionals looking to make a career move into blockchain, embedded software, and pre-fabrication.