Tapping on the opportunities of the future economy

Singapore to remain open and connected, while building a resilient economy for all.

03 Mar 2017

The global economic outlook remains uncertain. Despite this Singapore’s economy is in a steady and stable growth trajectory. Barring downside risks, Singapore’s GDP is expected grow by 2% in 2017.

Industry Transformation Maps

Each sector will have unique opportunities and challenges in this uncertain economy. The Industry Transformation Map (ITM) is the right approach to addressing the specific needs of each industry. It consists of a suite of programmes that help companies scale and transform.

To better match skills supply with industry demand, SPRING Singapore is currently working with stakeholders to develop a Food Manufacturing Skills Framework which will be introduced this year. Workers will be able to use this Framework to plan their careers and learn the skills they need to advance.

Proactively responding to companies’ needs

In order to remain responsive to the needs of the industry, the Governement intends to have a forward-looking regulatory regime that supports innovation.

To this end, the Government will help innovative medical devices gain quicker access to the market by establishing a priority review scheme for medtech devices. Applications submitted under this scheme will be prioritised, shortening turn-around-times to register the device. The Government will also launch a “pre-market consultation scheme” to allow medical device developers greater certainty. Companies can consult the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) on the regulatory requirements for devices during the development stage. These initiatives will be launched in the second half of 2017.

The Government will also be reviewing its land zoning regulations. With manufacturing business models shifting towards service-driven activities, current zonal restrictions may be too limiting. The Jurong Town Corporation (JTC) and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) have been working on a more flexible industrial land zoning approach. This will be piloted at a JTC-developed multi-tenanted building and located within Woodlands North Coast.

Enhancing the R&D and innovation ecosystem

Several shifts have been made to Singapore’s Research, Innovation and Enterprise ecosystem to ensure that Singapore is well-positioned to harness technology and innovation to drive our next phase of economic growth.

Singapore’s research framework is focused on four areas that hold significant economic opportunities: Advanced manufacturing and engineering, health and biomedical sciences, services and digital economy, and urban solutions and sustainability.

Funding for public-private research collaborations under the Industry Alignment Fund (IAF) have been increased. In order to spur the best ideas, the Government has also increased the proportion of competitive funding that is open to all public research performers from 20% to 40%.

The Government will also be making publicly-funded Intellectual Property (IP) more accessible to companies by creating a National IP Protocol. This Protocol will provide a clear and consistent framework for companies and public agencies to access publicly funded IP. Companies will be able to bring innovative products and services more quickly to market and reap positive value.

To leverage more lead demand to catalyse innovation and business opportunities for companies, the Government will adopt a more targeted approach to using lead demand through an enhanced Partnerships for Capability Transformation programme (PACT) through Government Lead Demand, or Gov-PACT.

Under the Gov-PACT programme, SMEs will be given opportunities to develop, test-bed and validate new solutions. SPRING has budgeted $80 million to support SMEs under this programme.

Infrastructure financing

To help Singapore-based SMEs to tap on the growing infrastructure opportunities in the region, the Government has introduced the Internationalisation Finance Scheme (IFS) Non-Recourse Financing Scheme. This scheme, to be administered by IE Singapore, allows the Government to co-share banks’ risk in providing non-recourse loans to SMEs for such projects. Non-recourse loans are secured only by the project’s assets and its cash flows, and this will enable SMEs to take on more projects.

At the other end of the spectrum, infrastructure developers working on large overseas projects face different financing challenges, such as securing loans for large projects undertaken on behalf of sovereigns of developing countries. To help level the playing field for Singapore-based developers, the government will enhance the existing IFS to provide insurance against default of payments by sovereigns in selected emerging markets.

Strengthening our capacity for internationalisation

The Government wants to help our companies to seize opportunities in global markets, and deepen linkages with overseas networks and partners.

To ensure seamless support for our enterprises’ internationalisation effort, Singapore will strengthen coordination of the Government’s overseas operations under consolidated “Singapore Centres”. These Singapore Centres will serve as the key point of contact for Singapore-based companies when entering overseas markets, as well as for overseas investors to better understand the business environment in Singapore. Singapore Centres will be extended to all other 36 overseas locations where EDB and IE are present.

The Global Innovation Alliance’s (GIA) key objective is to help our startups and SMEs build networks and seize export opportunities in global innovation hubs and new demand markets. A network of Innovation Launchpads will be established under the GIA around the world. The Innovation Launchpad will integrate existing overseas networks built by Singapore’s Institutes of Higher Learning and companies under one integrated network, which can then be leveraged on by companies.

The GIA will also enable the best foreign ideas and talent to interface with Singapore companies and find local partners. This will not only enrich Singapore’s innovation ecosystem, but also strengthen Singapore’s position as a base for foreign companies to test-bed new products and expand into the region.