Business

Budget 2018 to build deep capabilities in firms and people: Minister

The upcoming Budget's focus on helping companies innovate and transform was highlighted yet again yesterday by Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong in a Facebook post about his recent visit to local life-science manufacturer Esco Group.

Commending its transformation over the years and its current research and development efforts, Mr Wong said: "We want to facilitate more of such corporate-level innovation and transformation.

"Budget 2018 will continue with efforts to build deep capabilities in our firms and people, and forge stronger partnerships at all levels."

Mr Wong, who is also Second Minister for Finance, visited Esco Group's facilities in Ayer Rajah Crescent on Wednesday.

Esco was formed in 1978, providing clean-room solutions for the then booming electronics industry.

In 2000, as market conditions changed, it shifted its focus to laboratory and biological safety equipment.

Esco later moved into the life-science sector with the support of government schemes.

GRANT

These include the Capability Development Grant, which supports firms in building capabilities in areas such as product development and business transformation.

Esco tapped this grant to develop design and manufacturing capabilities for a new range of pharmaceutical isolators, equipment that help maintain sterile conditions.

It also has an investment arm, Esco Ventures, which invests in biomedical start-ups. These included some that have received funding from the Startup SG Tech scheme.

"All in all, it is a remarkable story of a Singaporean company that continues to innovate, transform and grow, seizing new opportunities along the way," said Mr Wong.

BUSINESS & FINANCE