SINGAPORE – There will be more support for promising companies to help accelerate their growth despite the coronavirus pandemic, said Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing during a press briefing on the precision engineering sector on Monday (Sept 14).

He made these remarks during a visit to semiconductor manufacturing firm AEM.

To better support such companies, he announced that the Scale-up SG scheme will be enhanced, with the level of government funding raised to 80 per cent from 70 per cent until September 2021 to lighten cost pressures.

The programme also aims to groom another 50 companies in the next two years, up from a total of 42 firms in the first two batches.

The Scale-up SG scheme was launched in July last year to help local companies with high-growth potential to scale rapidly and eventually contribute significantly to Singapore’s economy, as well as create good jobs for Singaporeans.

Under the programme, held over 2½ years, companies work with partners such as McKinsey & Company and PwC Singapore and learn from one another to strategise and execute business acceleration plans.

Mr Chan said: “Even amidst the tough times, there are companies that are still doing well, like AEM, and their market is in fact growing, which we will help them to expand further. There are companies that are consolidating their capacity while preserving their capabilities, and there are companies that we are helping to pivot.”

He added that AEM, which provides advanced chip-testing solutions, is an example of a company that is doing well and growing despite the pandemic because it is able to innovate and penetrate the market, even capturing a part of the global value chain.

“We are going to step up our efforts to help many of these good companies, aspiring companies, to grow, and also to create more jobs in Singapore,” he said.

He noted that participants in the first run of the Scale-up SG programme last December set a target of achieving 20 per cent year-on-year revenue growth over the next three years, aiming to almost double their growth rate prior to entering the programme.

“Amidst these difficult circumstances, we are not going to slow down our pace to help our promising companies to conquer the global markets,” he said.

“Our promise to all our promising companies is that, so long as they have the ambition, so long as they have the drive, we will find the means to help them realise their dreams to penetrate the global markets, and to grow from strength to strength. We will find the resources necessary to support our companies to grow, so that they can create more and better jobs for fellow Singaporeans.”

Companies can also collaborate and chip in to help the entire ecosystem to grow, Mr Chan said.

“AEM did not just grow as an individual company. With the capabilities built up by AEM, it has also helped us to build an ecosystem of precision engineering capabilities and suppliers, in which many Singapore small and medium-sized enterprises can participate in as well. And this is how we see ourselves growing together as one community.”

He added that AEM also struck up partnerships with other organisations worldwide.

“This is a very good example of how we see Singaporean companies going forward, not just being good in the Singapore market… but also building the network of capabilities across the entire world for us to service the global operations.”

The Scale-Up SG programme also provides a platform for companies to share their knowledge, interact and even create new business ideas, Mr Chan said.

Trade associations, like the Singapore Precision Engineering and Technology Association, can also support smaller companies by engaging experienced professionals to aid local firms in their transformation efforts.

The target is to help another 24 precision engineering companies to implement digitalisation and adopt Industry 4.0 by August 2022, he added.

“We are confident that even during this crisis, we can pull apart from the competition and distinguish ourselves as a community.”