Innovation funding has boosted SME initiatives

Innovation funding has boosted SME initiatives

Funding schemes from government agencies have supported companies' innovation and research projects, with encouraging results, said Second Minister for Trade and Industry S. Iswaran in Parliament yesterday.

A survey conducted last year found that three-quarters of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) were planning to implement innovation, he added.

Separate findings showed that local SMEs spent nearly $550 million on research and development (R&D) in 2012, 70 per cent more than they did 10 years before.

"The results from these efforts have been encouraging," Mr Iswaran said in response to Ms Foo Mee Har (West Coast GRC), who asked about the results of productivity schemes in promoting innovation.

He highlighted various programmes and the help given out.

The Innovation and Capability Voucher scheme under Spring Singapore, for example, has awarded around $65 million to SMEs since 2012. They received 13,000 vouchers to help them engage consultancy services and raise productivity.

Spring's Capability Development Grant provided over $100 million to more than 1,000 companies last year.

Moreover, the agency's seven Centres of Innovation offer facilities and advice for companies prototyping new products.

More than 1,200 companies have made use of the Technology Adoption Programme by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research since July 2013.

Under the Productivity and Innovation Credit Scheme, 54,000 firms made claims for the 2014 year of assessment.

Mr Iswaran said the Government's commitment of around $16 billion for R&D spending from 2011 to this year represents about 1 per cent per year of the gross domestic product.

The aim is to try to attract matching funds from the private sector, he noted.


This article was first published on February 13, 2015.
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