SME Help

Ever wonder why so many people are complaining about being caught in the rat race and no time to do what they would love to do.

For Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) owners, the pressures and stresses are even greater.

They are always struggling to achieve a balance among many priorities,  their work, family, relationship, health, etc goals &  grinds in life, without ease and grace.

In Singapore, with increasing business and manpower costs, 42% of 2708 SMEs surveyed indicated they are in fire fighting mode and no mood to talk about gain in productivity and business growth.

(Recent survey by DP Information Group)

Various Reasons given are:-

  • You can upgrade in capacity, but if if you don’t have the manpower to service the market flow
  • Raise in productivity do not justify the cost or the need for it
  • 90% of the respondents said they face obstacles in improving productivity, such as lack of knowledge on how to implement productivity improvement activities and lack of (in-house) resources


DP Info managing director  Chen Yew Nah advises SMEs to strive to “get their mojo back” or risk decling fortunes.

“SMEs need to understand that the riskiest thing to do is to stand still. After a period of stagnant growth, the balance sheets of SMEs  have weakened and more SMEs are now considered to be high credit risks.”

The Singapore Government’s holy grail is for higher productivity in Companies, especially SMEs.

Ms Choy Sauw Kook. assistant chief executive of Spring Singapore, said her agency is “now intensifying efforts to educate them on the “how-tos” of implementing productivity measures.”


Initiatives by Spring

SPRING Singapore offers several initiatives to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs):

  • Free self-help toolkits on areas such as financial management, human resources, customer service, marketing, and productivity, which are available on the agency’s website. SPRING Must_Know_Schemes_for_your_business
  • Businesses can offset productivity upgrades using the Innovation and Capability Vouchers, valued at $5,000. These vouchers can also be used for consultancy services from participating providers, to help plan and budget finances, manage cash flow and working capital, and assess growth potential.

Market your small business-Express Email Marketing

  • SMEs embarking on large financial management projects can use the Capability Development Grant to defray up to 70 per cent of project costs. These projects can include developing a financial frame work, business expansion strategies, and implementing corporate financial systems and mergers and acquisitions.
  • SMEs that need general business help and advice on government assistance schemes can speak to advisers at SME Centres located across Singapore. Association of Small & Medium Enterprise (ASME)  Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF)  Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI)  Singapore Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SMCCI)  Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI)

The centres provide one-to-one business diagnosis, advice on government schemes, guidance on grant applications and in-depth advice in areas such as productivity, buman resources, overseas expansion and financial management.

Transcript of various SME Schemes

A) Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) scheme

Objectives of the PIC scheme

The PIC scheme was introduced to support businesses that invest in innovation and productivity improvements. Businesses can enjoy a 400% tax deduction or 60% cash payout1 for investments under six qualifying activities.  In Budget 2013, the PIC Bonus was introduced to provide businesses a dollar-for-dollar matching cash bonus on top of the existing PIC tax deductions and/or cash payout.
To qualify for the PIC cash payout, businesses must have:

a) Incurred PIC-qualifying expenditure during the basis period of the qualifying YA;
b) Active business operations in Singapore; and
c) Employed and made CPF contributions for at least three local employees. These three local employees must not be sole-proprietors, partners and shareholders who are directors of the company.


“6 ways to boost tax savings with productivity and innovation credit scheme”,  or in short PIC scheme

How is PIC Works

Invest in any of these 6 activities, Training of Employees, Automation Equipments & Software, R&D, Registration of IP, Acquisition of IP and Design Projects.

Get a tax deduction or a cash payout when you invest in your workers, equipments, research, design or intellectual property rights.

60% Cash Payout or

Tax Deduction up to 400%

Note:- Budget 2013 New Enhancement – PIC Bonus. Business that spend a minimum of S$5,000 in qualifying PIC activities in a YA, will receive dollar-for-dollar matching cash bonus up to S$15,000 for YA 2013 to YA 2015. This is in addition to existing PIC benefits.

B) Enterprise Training Support (Employers)

You can receive funding support for the following:

Grant Amount Description
Training Grant Up to $200,000 per company Supports the cost of non-WSQ training and structured OJT, with bundled WSQ training forming at least 30% of an enterprise training plan.
Capability Development Grant One-time grant of $20,000 per company Helps you build your in-house capabilities in the areas of training delivery and infrastructure.
Curriculum Contextualisation and Alignment Grant Up to $52,000 per company Helps you defray costs in developing Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) training modules, both in terms of content and training delivery. The grant will also support development of OJT blueprints.
HR Development Grant Up to $60,000 per company Helps you:

  • Develop a system to administer and monitor a holistic training plan which would include identifying skills needed of your employees and developing training pathways; or
  • Integrate WSQ into your training plans and HR policy; or
  • Enhance existing or develop new learning and development systems to support adoption of WSQ and measure learning gains; or
  • Develop career progression pathways, tied to the training roadmap with WSQ components
Compensation and Benefits System Review Grant Up to $15,000 per company Helps you defray costs of engaging consultancy agencies to conduct enterprise-wide industry salary benchmark reviews and restructuring of wages, to attract local talent and retain them in a tight labour market.


PIC Bonus

Businesses can also enjoy the PIC Bonus from YAs 2013 to 2015 when they invest a minimum of $5,000 per YA on PIC qualifying expenditure. The PIC Bonus is a dollar-for-dollar matching cash bonus given to businesses, capped at $15,000 for all 3 YAs combined.

Computing PIC Bonus

You will receive an equal amount in PIC bonus on every dollar that you spend on qualifying activities, subject to a cap of $15,000 over YAs 2013 to 2015.


YA 2013 YA 2014 YA 2015

Qualifying PIC Expenditure




PIC Cash Payout (1)

($6,000 x 60%)

($3,000 x 60%)

($12,000 x 60%)

PIC Bonus


$0 (2)

$9,000 (3)

Total PIC Benefits





Note:- PIC Bonus scheme ends in 2015.

For more details, please click IRAS website


C) “Grant for Energy Efficient Technologies” (GREET)

The Grant for Energy Efficient Technologies (GREET) aims to encourage owners and operators of new and existing industrial facilities to invest in energy efficient equipment or technologies. The scheme is co-administered by the National Environment Agency and the Economic Development Board.

Qualifying Costs

Grant Quantum
Typical funding of up to 20% of the qualifying costs, capped at $4 million per project.

Qualifying Costs
The qualifying costs include the following:

  • Manpower cost
  • Equipment and materials
  • Professional services

Singapore GST is excluded.

Disbursement of Grants
All disbursements will be made on a reimbursement basis.

D) and many more

EnterpriseOne, managed by SPRING Singapore, has also set up SME Centre at various trade association locations, to advise the SMEs on the following:

SME Startup Understanding Business Concerns
Government Assistance Schemes Updates
Informative Seminars
Facilitated Consultancy





If you do need to know more about the Government grants, its subsidized project  implementation details and another view on your productivity gains vs costs, why not contact me for a free first appointment.

Besides, English, I could converse with you in other language like Mandarin or dialects such as Hokkien, Cantonese or Teochew, if you are more comfortable.

I will be delighted to be of service to you.

If you want to have Free first appointment consultation at your office, please contact our company at phone no +65 96431052 or

email us at


Reuben H C Ong (a.k.a Reubeno)

Reubeno Internet