Singapore Minister for Trade and Industry stresses role of SMEs in innovation

At a recent technology forum, Singapore Minister for Trade and Industry, Chan Chun
Sing emphasised on the role of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in innovation.
According to Chan, we now live in an era where the effects of technological disruption are
ubiquitous, touching all aspects of our lives – from the way we work, live and interact with
one another.

“Technological disruption can be scary and yet exciting. As a country, Singapore must be
prepared to take advantage of these shifts,” he said. He also said that fortunately, Singapore is at a position of strength today, given its strategic positioning within ASEAN, longstanding
investments in research and development (R&D), its skilled workforce and pro-business
environment put Singapore in a strong position to continually attract talent, ideas, capital, and create good jobs.

According to the Minister, in the next phase of its development, Singapore must position
itself as “a global Asia node of technology, innovation and enterprise” in order to maintain a
vibrant and competitive economy. On how Singapore can be a global Asia node of
technology, innovation and enterprise, Minister Chan highlighted the importance of
innovation as business models, markets and mindsets.

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SMEs have an important role to play in Singapore’s ambitions to be a Global Asia Node of
technology, innovation and enterprise. Chan explained that many of the city-state’s SMEs are
stepping up their investments in innovation and technology. According to the 2016 National
R & D Survey of Singapore, Business Expenditure on R&D (BERD) by SMEs grew by a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 4% over the period 2006 to 2016.

As part of Government’s efforts to sustain the growth and competitiveness of enterprises, the Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs) which address 23 sectors representing 80% of the
country’s GDP are being rolled out. “Innovation and internationalisation are key components
of the ITMs,” Minister Chan highlighted.

The Government is working on various initiatives that will help SMEs innovate, build
capabilities and internationalise. “Most importantly, for SMEs to sustain their competitive
edge over the longer term, they must also build up in-house R&D capabilities and be able to attract R&D talent,” the Minister said.

“In order for Singapore to remain a vibrant economy with opportunities for our businesses
and good jobs for our people, we all have an important role to play. The government, the
research institutions, our SMEs, our local enterprises, our workers must work closely with
one another so that we can continue to stay ahead of the competition,” Chan concluded.

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