SINGAPORE: More than 8,300 local small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) are expected to benefit from the Local Enterprise and Association Development (LEAD) programme, as the number of projects under it more than doubled last year.
Trade agencies IE Singapore and SPRING Singapore, which spearhead the programme, made the announcement on Monday (Jul 24) at this year's edition of the LEAD Forum.
Under the programme, trade associations and chambers (TACs) can receive support for industry development projects in areas such as technology and infrastructure, advisory and consultancy as well as research.
Speaking at the event, Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade) S Iswaran described the LEAD programme as the cornerstone of the Government's strategy to boost the enterprise development efforts of Singapore's TACs.
Last year, 28 projects were initiated by 23 TACs. A third of these were new to the LEAD programme, including the Federation of Merchant's Association and the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA).
Said Mr Iswaran: "While we have made notable progress in nurturing an active base of TACs, there is untapped potential and much to be gained trough collaboration among TACs. As the saying goes, 'Strong alone, stronger together'."
Since the programme's inception in 2005, 47 TACs have come on board to spearhead more than 200 industry projects in areas of productivity enhancement, capability upgrading and market access.
Overall, more than 40,000 local enterprises have benefited from these projects in the last decade.
FURTHERING THE COLLABORATION
Meanwhile, as part of efforts to further ramp up collaboration between these TACs, Mr Iswaran announced the formation of a Logistics Alliance comprising four TACs.
They are the Container Depot and Logistics Association (Singapore), SAAA@Singapore, Singapore Logistics Association and Singapore Transport Association.
SPRING Singapore and Republic Polytechnic's Centre of Innovation for Supply Chain Management are also involved in the alliance, with these organisations inking a memorandum of understanding at the LEAD forum.
The Logistics Alliance will develop and drive projects in areas such as innovation, productivity and human capital.
This "intra-agency" model is one way TACs have used to collaborate, said Mr Iswaran. Others include "cross-agency", as well as having a well-established TAC serving as an anchor in consortium with smaller TACs, he added.
"Guidance and support from the larger TAC would also help the smaller associations to level up their organisational capabilities," said Mr Iswaran.
A call for proposals for TACs to submit join project ideas and to drive more capability upgrading projects for industry transformation was also issued on Monday. This comes after an earlier announcement by the Government that the maximum funding level for high-impact, multi-TAC projects under LEAD would be raised from 70 per cent to 90 per cent.