SINGAPORE: In a bid to strengthen business collaborations between Germany and Singapore companies, the inaugural Germany-Singapore SME Funding Programme was launched by Trade and Industry Minister (Industry) S Iswaran on Monday (Aug 29).
It was launched at the Germany-Singapore Business Forum, where two new agreements were also signed during the event.
As part of the Germany-Singapore SME Funding Programme, the first agreement was a Memorandum of Understanding between AiF Projekt GmbH, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy, and SPRING Singapore. Funding support will be provided for joint research and development (R&D) projects, and hopes to encourage collaboration between German and Singaporean small and medium-sized enterprises.
Participating enterprises from both countries will be supported through SPRING Singapore's capability development grant, and the BMWi's Central Innovation Programme for SMEs.
The second MOU was signed between Singaporean-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (SGC) and the Singapore Precision Engineering and Technology Association (SPETA) to benefit companies in the manufacturing and engineering sectors.
Under this agreement, the two organisations will develop initiatives and organise platforms to foster more partnerships between German and Singapore companies.
Speaking at the programme, Mr Iswaran said the funding programme and the agreements signed were important ways to capture opportunities in technology and in the ASEAN markets.
"Partnerships between Germany and Singapore are undergirded by strong and long-standing economic relations. Germany is our largest trading partner in the EU and 13th largest globally.
Both Singapore and Germany promote innovation and productivity as key drivers for growth, and share complementary technology and innovation agendas. These shared economic goals make it conducive for German and Singaporean enterprises to foster substantive and meaningful partnerships," said Mr Iswaran.
The Germany-Singapore Business Forum is a biennial event in its 12th run this year, and is co-chaired by Prof Axel Stepken, Chairman of the Board of Management of TÜV SÜD AG, and Phillip Yeo who is Chairman of SPRING Singapore.
This year's focus is on three sectors - precision engineering, medical technology and clean technology, which is also the focus of the bilateral SME Funding Programme, said Mr Iswaran.
He added that the Committee on the Future Economy is studying recommendations to enter Singapore to seize opportunities in growth markets such as ASEAN and growth ushers including Advanced Manufacturing.
Mr Iswaran said: "Under the Industry Transformation Maps, we will integrate the strategies for these various aspects in a sector-by-sector approach to better support the growth of our companies. These strategies will include programmes to upgrade productivity, develop skills, promote technology adoption and innovation, and help our companies expand overseas."