SMEs must be innovative to thrive: Lim Hng Kiang

Innovation is crucial if small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are to thrive in the future, said Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang yesterday.

Mr Lim told a conference audience of around 5,000 people that despite the challenging global economy, he had confidence that Singaporean businesses would be able to adapt well.

He highlighted various schemes that are helping SMEs, such as Spring Singapore's Capability Development Grant and A*Star's Growing Enterprises through Technology Upgrade (Get-Up) programme.

He also cited the SkillsFuture initiative. "SMEs, in particular, play an important part in SkillsFuture as they employ the bulk of our workforce," said Mr Lim.

He was speaking at a two-day conference that combines the annual SMEs Conference, the Infocomm Commerce Conference and the SME Expo 2015.

In line with this year's innovation theme, an exhibition by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) features six planned technological solutions for SMEs in the construction, food and beverage and logistics sectors.

These solutions include a biometrics attendance management system that measures man-hours in real time and a smart drone to inspect buildings under construction, doing away with the risks associated with climbing scaffolding.

The event yesterday also featured local film director Jack Neo, who compared selling goods with his experiences as a film-maker, noting that the most important step was in connecting with buyers, much like how movies have to connect with audiences. He said in Mandarin: "You need to understand what moves the buyers."

The two-day event at Suntec City Convention Centre ends today and features around 60 speakers and 80 exhibitions.

It is organised by the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in collaboration with the IDA and Lianhe Zaobao.

This article was first published on Aug 20, 2015.
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