Innovating Singapore – One SME at a Time


This post was previously published on 15 August 2014. For more up to date information on the PIC scheme and other budget initiatives, please refer to our most recent blog post on Singapore Budget updates, with the latest available information from IRAS. For the full details, visit the IRAS PIC site.

Last week, Singapore celebrated its 49th birthday amid a patriotic buzz that was felt right across the Little Red Dot. We can’t help but marvel at the transformation this country has been through in that short space of time, and, despite its physical limitations compared to other Asian nations, Singapore continues to lead the way in finance, technology and innovation.

Nowhere is this felt more prominently than in the booming SME market that accounts for 90% of all enterprises, contributes 60% of the total value added in the economy and employs seven out of ten of the country’s workforce.

At Blue Ocean Systems we work with SMEs at all stages of their own transformation; from family-operated companies striving to make their name in the market, to multi-million dollar industry-leading enterprises.

Whatever stage they’re at, all SMEs have one thing in common that they need to be mindful of in today’s economy: be innovative, or be gone.


What Does Innovation Mean for SMEs?

Just as Singapore as we know it today had to adapt through difficult times in its history, so too do SMEs in a constantly evolving environment. The way innovation works in one company might be completely different in another.

For example, a young technology start up might have innovation woven into its core due to the nature of their product, whereas a more established and traditional company might look to automate their financial reporting to remain relevant to their clients.


Innovation = constantly looking for ways to improve products, services and processes to enjoy increased productivity and business performance


How Can my Company Become More Innovative?

Innovation isn’t just a project or a department; it needs to become embedded across each system and process within your organisation, supported by all stakeholders.

Part of your company’s journey to becoming more innovative might include;

  • Current analysis of your industry and market position – which companies in your space are bigger/more profitable/have a better brand reputation? What is your company (not) doing differently?

  • Involving all parties – from the c-level and shareholders to department heads and even junior staff. Inviting insights and suggestions from all areas will help with engagement and uncover things that might be overlooked. Your customers will also be able to offer useful insights too.

  • Develop a strategic plan to introduce innovation across the enterprise, with key stakeholders as sponsors and supporters.

  • Seek external advice from consultants, advisors and government/industry bodies on the support available to your organisation.


How Can Singapore SMEs Leverage Innovation and Productivity Initiatives?

SMEs in Singapore are fortunate to be able to access a variety of government grants to become more productive and more innovative. There is financial assistance as well as business advice and support available. We appreciate it can be overwhelming to understand the best place to get help so we have included an easy-to-access guide below


BOS Guide for Singapore SMEs Wanting to Leverage Productivity and Innovation Support

  1. Talk to us!

We work with SMEs everyday and have supported them through their SAP implementation whilst applying for various government grants, including the PIC. Whilst we can’t submit the application on your behalf, we can help you to prepare for it. Call us on +65 6259 9738 or connect with us today.


  1. Head to an SME Centre

There are 5 SME Centres around Singapore offering free business advice to small and medium companies. They specialise in a variety of fields including legal, financial, technology and global expansion. They can even help with your business branding! Learn more.


  1. Get the latest information

Things change all the time so it’s always advisable to keep up to date with the latest grant inclusions and amendments:


IRAS for the PIC (Productivity and Innovation Credit)

Up to 400% tax deduction or 60% cash payout for eligible SMEs who invest in innovative and productivity-enhancing technology and systems. Learn more.

SPRING for the ICV (Innovation Capability Voucher)

A $5000 voucher for eligible SMEs to invest in core business operations to enhance productivity and innovation. Learn more.


SPRING for the CDG (Capability Development Grant)

A grant for eligible SMEs to receive a 70% subsidy for project and consultancy costs relating to process/product improvement and market access. Learn more.


A*STAR (Agency for Science, Research and Technology) for TAP (Technology Adoption Programme)

Aimed at improving SMEs’ access to technology, this initiative provides advice and connections to appropriate solution providers based on your company’s needs and future plans. Learn more.


4. Get More Help

There really is a lot of help out there, including many specialist consultants and grant advisors who can walk you through your eligibility and entitlement to these, and many more government initiatives and schemes.

Take that first step towards your own success story, and hopefully in fewer than 49 years, you’ll also be able to count your many successes.


Connect with the Blue Ocean Systems team today online, via our growing Facebook community, or on LinkedIn.


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