SINGAPORE: More than 10,600 companies have taken up loans amounting to about S$9.4 billion under schemes overseen by Enterprise Singapore in the last four months from March to June.
This is more than seven times the amount for the whole of 2019, when about S$1.3 billion in such loans was extended.
The Government bears 90 per cent of the risk for these loans, allowing financial institutions to provide them on more favourable terms, said Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat on Tuesday (Jul 14).
About 80 per cent of the 10,600 firms that benefited were micro and small enterprises, he noted, referring to companies which see less than S$10 million in annual revenue.
More than half of the companies which benefited were from three sectors, with wholesale trade making up 21 per cent of the firms, construction 15 per cent and manufacturing 14 per cent.
Allowing companies easier access to cashflow and credit is one of the ways in which the Government supports firms in Singapore, especially during the COVID-19 crisis, said Mr Chee.
He also gave updates on other initiatives to support local businesses, such as the e-commerce and food delivery booster packages targeted at helping firms in these sectors digitalise in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
More than 700 retailers and 10,000 food and beverage establishments have tapped on the respective packages.
In addition, in the first half of the year more than 10,000 projects were undertaken under ESG’s productivity solutions and enterprise development grants, which are aimed at helping businesses restructure, he said.
Mr Chee was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a visit to printing firm Markono Content Solutions in Pioneer.
He noted that Markono was one example of a firm which had benefited from ESG’s support to invest in improving its systems, processes and technology.
The company has automated many of its processes, for example by using a fleet of 30 small automated guided vehicles to transport items around its warehouse.
“We want to support more companies like Markono to be able to grow, so that they can create new jobs for Singaporeans,” he said.
Mr Chee added that despite being in a “traditional sector”, Markono has been able to use technology to improve its productivity and enhance its competitiveness.
Markono's managing director Edwin Ng said that the firm is currently working on an upgrade to its enterprise resource management system.
“This lays the foundation for us to deploy solutions more seamlessly in the future, as well as to automate some of the work processes that are currently conducted manually by our colleagues (who are) doing admin, finance, all the way down to sales and customer service,” he said.
Mr Chee also announced that an initiative to help companies better navigate which schemes and initiatives would benefit them the most would be launched in August.
Called E-Advisor, the initiative is a function on the GoBusiness platform which recommends suitable schemes based on a company’s needs.
The initiative is a collaboration between the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Government Technology Agency and the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office.