SINGAPORE - After years of helping workers find jobs, Community Development Councils (CDCs) are now giving a hand to the bosses.
The councils will be setting up offices this year to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) tap on government schemes to boost productivity. This follows a pilot centre at Northeast CDC that was set up last year.
Besides CDCs, some community clubs may also be getting similar centres but the details are still being worked out, sources said.
An official announcement by Spring Singapore - the statutory board that spearheads assistance schemes for SMEs - the CDCs and People's Association is expected next week.
Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck told The Straits Times that these new centres are part of a network of "satellite SME centres" to reach out to firms operating in residential suburbs.
"They will bring services closer to the SMEs, many of which are small businesses in heartland shops," said Mr Teo, who is also the mayor of Northeast CDC.
Business advisors at the centres will provide free advice to firms on how to apply for financial aid and restructure so as improve productivity.
Mr Teo dismissed the suggestion that helping bosses erodes the primary objective of CDCs to foster community bonding.
"These bosses are also residents. If their businesses expand, they can hire more residents, so helping workers and bosses are complementary and win-win for both," he said.
CDCs were first set up in 1997 to promote community bonding. They were consolidated in 2001 to form the five today - Central Singapore, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast and Southwest. Their roles have also evolved when they took over the delivery of social services in 2000 and started job matching services a year later.