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Singapore’s 2017 Budget brought good news for businesses, especially SMEs in Singapore. Businesses were told to develop deeper capabilities in order to stay competitive and grow. And to achieve that, businesses need to use digital technology, embrace innovation and scale up!
Below are some of the highlights of Budget 2017 that are relevant to SMEs and Startups:
- Employers will continue to receive support for hiring older workers, to the tune of S$300 million in 2017, benefiting about 370,000 workers, under the Special Employment Credit.
- More than S$600 million is expected to be given to businesses next month, of which roughly 70% of this to SMEs under the Wage Credit Scheme.
- The Additional Special Employment Credit’s re-employment age will be increased from 65 to 67 years old with effect from 1st July 2017.
- The Corporate Income Tax Rebate will be enhanced by raising the cap S$20,000 to S$25,000 for YA2017.
- Government will co-share 50% of the default risk for loans of up to S$300,000 per SME, available for the next 2 years under the SME Working Capital Loan
- The “Adaptive and Grow” initiative launched last year will be enhanced to help workers take on new jobs.
- More than S$80 million will be made available to help SMEs go digital, which will significantly improve productivity. The Retail and Food Services will be the first sectors to benefit from the SME Go Digital Programme.
- About S$600 million under the International Partnership Fund will be made available to help companies scale-up and internationalise.
- Singapore Business Leaders will be able to tap on the SkillsFuture Leadership Development Initiative to develop their leadership skills through specialised courses and overseas postings.
All in all, this is a budget that will help businesses tide over the slow economy, make use of the time now to skill up and globalise to expand their businesses. And as the Finance Minister said, businesses should take on a “learning and adaptive approach”, learn and try out new ways of doing things, continue doing them if they work, or change to alternative ways if they do not, and learn from the feedback and experience.