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Govt expands Innovation and Capability Voucher scheme to help SMEs

The government is expanding the scope of the Innovation and Capability Voucher scheme to support small and medium enterprises.

SINGAPORE: More help is on the way for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to improve their productivity.

From March 1, the government is expanding the scope of the Innovation and Capability Voucher scheme.

Besides consultancy services, SMEs will be able to apply for grants to implement consultants' recommendations and offset costs to improve productivity and efficiency.

Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck and his team were out at Alexandra Village on Monday to visit heartland businesses

They had to address many queries from those who were unclear about the paperwork required to others who simply do not know the schemes available.

"All my things are not easy to stock check. I only have estimation," said antique dealer Alan Wong who owns Yasahii Trading. "I also worry that when they come and check, there will be a problem to give them a perfect report."

Paul Liew, manager at Keng Eng Kee Seafood, said they only knew about the Innovation and Capability Voucher scheme after they had applied for the Productivity and Innovation Credit scheme.

Following feedback from the SME Workgroup, Mr Teo announced enhancements to the Innovation and Capability voucher scheme.

SMEs can soon apply for grants to implement and procure solutions in innovation, productivity, human resources development and financial management.

This is in addition to grants for consultancy services.

Mr Teo said: "We realised that some of our companies are still not picking up quickly and we are concerned that if they don't pick up quickly, they may face some challenges in the future."

To help heartland SMEs better understand the schemes available, Tanjong Pagar GRC is setting up a merchant association in Queenstown after Lunar New Year.

Dr Chia Shi Lu, Member of Parliament for Tanjong Pagar GRC, said: "The special point about this is to provide a more direct interface between the merchants and the various government bodies that are providing all these help."

An additional S$10 million has been set aside to fund the enhanced Innovation and Capability Voucher scheme.

This will bring the total amount set aside for the scheme to S$42 million.

Since the scheme was launched in June 2012, some 2,700 SMEs have received grants amounting to S$8.5 million.

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