SINGAPORE: Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will get another leg up in their efforts to transform their businesses using IT, after the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) announced its enhancements to the Increase SME Productivity with Infocomm Adoption and Transformation (iSPRINT) on Wednesday (Aug 20).
The enhanced iSPRINT scheme incorporates the S$500 million ICT for Productivity and Growth (IPG) programme, announced by Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam during the Budget Speech earlier this year. With this, companies can apply for the benefits via one scheme, instead of two, IDA said in its statement.
Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, said on Wednesday: "Global and technological trends have made the businesses highly competitive and SMEs must make use of technology to compete and succeed. The opportunities and possibilities are there, it is up to you (SMEs) to take advantage of the resources the Government has provided.”
He was speaking at the opening of the 16th Annual SMEs Conference and 17th Infocomm Commerce Conference, organised by the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI).
There are three main enhancements to the scheme:
1. Piloting new sector solutions
Aimed at helping SMEs tap into productivity and technology solutions, such as robotics, IT vendors and SMEs can partner to pioneer new and scalable solutions to automate and transform the sector. Depending on the expected sector impact, SMEs will be able to receive support of up to 80 per cent, capped at S$1 million per SME, for the solution. The financial support will be disbursed directly to the vendor, and SMEs need not claim for it.
2. Deploying proven sector solutions
For SMEs looking to implement proven IT offerings, they can pick from a growing list of packaged solutions. The IDA will support these projects with up to 70 per cent of the deployment costs. Again, no claims from the SMEs are needed as the money will be disbursed directly to vendors.
3. Fibre broadband and Wireless@SG services
SMEs can enjoy high-speed connectivity with support from IDA if they adopt any IT solutions in the enhanced iSPRINT scheme. Specifically, their fibre subscription plans of at least 100Mbps will be subsidised, with further support for them to implement Wireless@SG services and adopt cloud-based and data analytics technology at their premises.
"We have been supporting about 8,000 SMEs so far for different types of projects," said IDA Development Group's Assistant Chief Executive Khoong Hock Yun. "Some of the projects, especially those done at a sectorial level, have been fairly impactful, increasing their revenue and decreasing their costs, increasing their business efficiency. Those are the ones that can scale up. Our target is to reach about another 10,000 SMEs."