How an SME stayed a cut above the rest

PHOTO: How an SME stayed a cut above the rest
Minister of State for Trade and Industry Mr Teo Ser Luck (blue shirt) talking to Mr Bernard How, Assistant Workshop Manager (pink shirt), visiting a local small and medium enterprise (SME) in the Cleantech sector, Envipure.

SINGAPORE - Sigapore-based firm Envipure started out 30 years ago as a contractor for piping works and exhaust systems, raking in an annual average revenue of less than $5 million.

It has since evolved into an environmental engineering and systems company, drawing an annual revenue of $30 million on average. Its staff numbers, too, have grown from under 20 people to 196 today.

The company now offers leading proprietary technologies in air- and odour-pollution control, and industrial water treatment. Envipure's transformation was not effortless, said its chief executive, Mr Vincent Wong. "(We have) been constantly upgrading our capabilities to innovate and transform our business," he explained.

For instance, Envipure raised its productivity through the implementation of a 3-D design and modelling software last year, which qualified it to tap on the Productivity and Innovation Credit scheme.

The government scheme offers tax or cash rebates when firms spend money on productivity measures and technology. The software has reduced time taken for construction and installation by about 40 per cent, minimising errors and ensuring design accuracy.

Envipure also embarked on an export strategy in 2010, and has plants in more than 20 countries. It is looking into setting up an overseas marketing office in Seoul with help from International Enterprise Singapore.

During a visit to Envipure's premises in Admiralty Street yesterday, Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck said he was impressed by the firm's competitive edge over multinational companies and its ability to punch above its weight.

He added that the Government will continue to support small and medium-sized enterprises - such as Envipure - which are willing to innovate, upgrade and improve their productivity as they undergo restructuring.

In his Budget statement last week, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam announced that businesses which invest a minimum of $5,000 each year in Productivity and Innovation Credit Scheme-qualifying expenditure will receive a dollar-for-dollar-matching cash bonus, which could be up to $15,000 over three years.

Mr Teo said: "It's really up to the company to decide what type of schemes are most suitable (for it) at what stage of (its) business cycle."