Despite a challenging external backdrop, our economy has continued to strengthen and grow. Our economy grew by 3.6% in 2022 and the unemployment rate is below pre-pandemic levels, at 2.8% in December last year.

Budget 2023 introduces new and enhanced initiatives that will help your business grow as well as adapt to the changing economic climate.

In his Budget 2023 speech on Tuesday (Feb 14, 2023), Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Mr. Lawrence Wong, mentioned that the economic competition will get stiffer in this new era where countries compete for power and influence, thus Singapore will have to adapt quickly to these changes, to survive and prosper in a troubled world.

Here is a round-up of what SMEs can expect.

Developing Local Enterprises

  • Set aside $1 billion to provide customised support for promising local companies under Singapore Global Enterprises initiative
  • Additional $150 million via SME Co-Investment Fund to invest in promising SMEs

Building Capabilities and Anchoring Quality Investments

  • Top up $4 billion to National Productivity Fund and expand scope to support investment promotion

Nurturing and Sustaining Innovation

  • Introduce Enterprise Innovation Scheme to support businesses’ innovation activities via enhanced tax deductions/allowances, with a cash conversion option

Dealing with Cost Pressures

  • Extend Enterprise Financing Scheme enhancements till 31 Mar 2024 to facilitate access to credit:
    – 70% Government risk-share for trade loans
    – Enhanced maximum quantum for trade and working capital loans
    – Support for domestic construction projects via project loans
  • Extend Energy Efficiency Grant till 31 Mar 2024 for SMEs in Food Services, Food Manufacturing, and Retail sectors to adopt energy-efficient equipment, given higher electricity prices

Integrate Training and Job Placement

  • Pilot Jobs-Skills Integrators in Precision Engineering, Retail, and Wholesale Trade sectors to bring together key players to develop industry-relevant training and facilitate job matching

Enhance Employment Support

  • Top up $2.4 billion to Progressive Wage Credit Scheme fund for lower-wage workers, and maintain higher Government co-funding share of eligible wage increases in 2023:
    – Wages up to $2,500: increase from 50% to 75%
    – Wages above $2,500 and up to $3,000:
    increase from 30% to 45%
  • Extend Senior Employment Credit and Part-time Re-employment Grant for senior workers till 2025 to continue providing wage offsets, and encourage employers to offer flexible work arrangements and structured career planning
  • Enhance Enabling Employment Credit to encourage employment of persons with disabilities
  • Introduce Uplifting Employment Credit to encourage employment of ex-offenders

Useful Resources:

Budget 2023 website:
Budget 2023 overview by Enterprise Singapore:

Note: More details on some of these schemes will be shared by the at the COS

Updated as at 15 Feb 2023

EE Music article

Image source: TODAY / Voices / June 12, 2022

EE Music Singapore was established in 2015 as a traditional music education centre in Singapore. They have built a strong reputation within the music industry as a center of excellence that is focused on providing quality and progressive piano education for young learners.

Their business was doing well and managed to expand its outlets in Singapore and also China within 4 years until the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Many foreign teachers in Singapore have returned home. This sudden change can be difficult to adjust to, especially if you’re not sure what the future holds.

To overcome this, EE Music transformed their centre to include edu-tech in their music education, which has helped them emerge stronger when Covid-19 hits us. By harnessing the power of artificial intelligence and algorithms, they can generate teaching content that is tailored to the needs of each student. This content can be used to supplement or replace traditional teaching methods, providing a more personal and effective learning experience for students of all ages.

They had approached the SME Centre@ASME and were assisted by our Business Advisor, Jonathan Choy, who provided them with useful business advisory and recommendations on how to transform into a full-fledged music tech brand. Jonathan also encouraged them to patent their inventions and Intellectual Property with the support of the Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) grant from Enterprise Singapore and also connected them with the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) to support their internationalisation efforts.

This new direction will allow the company to tap into new markets and broaden its reach. With their knowledge and expertise in music education, they will be able to offer a unique and valuable service to students and teachers alike.

Read full article here.

Han Seng Thye Medical Products Trading

Image source: TODAY / SME Diaries / May 29, 2022

Han Seng Thye Medical Products Trading, a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) shop in the heartland has been around for decades. Like many other businesses, they were badly hit when the Covid-19 pandemic severely disrupted Singapore’s economic activity, especially during the circuit breaker period and movement restrictions.

Mr Chong Leong Thye, the owner, was having uncertainty over how to sustain his business, retain existing the customers as well as attract new customers.

With the support of our business advisor, Thomas Wang, and the Heartland Go Digital initiative, the traditional TCM business pushed further efforts on going digital and has now adopted cashless payments, their e-commerce store and also became a Shopee seller.

Thomas had also provided insights on Shopee’s monthly discount vouchers which would be helpful to move their piling inventories to counter the perishables’ expiry dates. After onboarding Shopee’s platform, this has helped them to expand their customer base and product range, on top of their TCM products.

As they embark on this journey with the assistance of our Business Advisor, they are discovering that digitalisation can help them strengthen their brand affinity. They also see that e-commerce helps them reach new audiences and new markets.

Read full article here. 


Budget 2021 – Overview


After an unprecedented year in which Singapore experienced its worst recession since independence, the global battle against COVID-19 remains far from over. The country’s GDP contracted by 5.4% in 2020. Its overall budget deficit last year was also the largest since independence, standing at $64.9 billion.

Budget 2021 introduces new measures, as well as enhances existing initiatives, to help your business deal with short-term challenges as you prepare for long-term growth.

In his Budget 2021 speech on Tuesday (Feb 16), Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced the Singapore Government has a S$24 billion plan to help its firms and workers adapt to a post-COVID-19 world, and it includes raising grants and extending training initiatives.

Here is a round-up of what SMEs can expect.

Enterprise Development Grant (EDG)
As announced at Budget 2021, the enhanced maximum support level of up to 80% will be extended from 30 September 2021 to 31 March 2022.

The Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) helps Singapore companies grow and transform. This grant supports projects that help you upgrade your business, innovate, or venture overseas. The grant funds qualifying project costs namely third-party consultancy fees, software and equipment, and internal manpower cost.

Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) Grant
As announced at Budget 2021, the maximum support level of up to 80% will be extended for 6 months, until 31 March 2022. MRA will also be enhanced to include Trade Credit Insurance (TCI) as a supportable area under the overseas market set-up pillar with effect from 1 April 2021.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will receive an international boost with the Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) grant to help take your business overseas.

Eligible SMEs will receive the following support:
– Up to 70% of eligible costs, capped at S$100,000 per company per new market* from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2023 that covers:
– Overseas market promotion (capped at S$20,000)
– Overseas business development (capped at S$50,000)
– Overseas market set-up (capped at S$30,000)

Each application is limited to one activity in a single overseas market (e.g., market entry, or participation in a trade fair)

Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG)
Technology is not about fancy and expensive high-end solutions. You can kick-start your technology journey by taking simple steps to automate existing processes and improve productivity. The Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) supports companies keen on adopting IT solutions and equipment to enhance business processes.

These solutions have been pre-scoped by various government agencies such as Enterprise Singapore, National Environmental Agency (NEA) and Singapore Tourism Board (STB).

As announced at Budget 2021, the enhanced maximum support level of up to 80% will be extended from 30 September 2021 to 31 March 2022.

The list of readily adoptable solutions can be found on GoBusiness Gov Assist. Applicants should consider their business needs to select the relevant and right-sized PSG support packages.

Senior Worker Early Adopter Grant (SWEAG)
The Senior Worker Early Adopter Grant (SWEAG) was introduced as part of the Senior Worker Support Package to provide businesses up to $250,000 and $125,000 respectively to implement key recommendations to support older workers. Supports businesses in raising their company-level retirement and reemployment age above the minimum statutory requirements.
From 16 Feb 2021, the grant will be streamlined to a single tier to benefit companies who increase their internal retirement and reemployment ages by three years or more. The minimum Retirement Age (RA) and Re-employment Age (REA) will be raised to 65 and 70 respectively by 2030. The first increases to 63 and 68 respectively will take effect from 1 July 2022. Companies will also be required to adopt the Tripartite Standard on Age-Friendly Workplace Practices to qualify for the grant.

Part-time Re-employment Grant (PTRG)
The Part-time Re-employment Grant will be adjusted to provide eligible companies with $2,500 for each senior worker aged 60 and above, capped at 50 workers and $125,000 per company. Employers are eligible when they commit to a re-employment policy where they would provide part-time re-employment opportunities to eligible senior workers who request for it. These arrangements benefit seniors who prefer lower work intensity and encourage them to stay in the workforce. The grants help firms adjust to the impending raises in retirement and re-employment ages in 2022.

Useful Resources:
Budget 2021 for businesses: Booklet
Find out more on the new and enhanced measures will help you transform your business, seize new opportunities, and emerge stronger.

Budget 2021 website
Learn more about all the different initiatives announced at Budget 2021.