Big companies pitching in to help SMEs stay afloat
One programme by American software company will hand out $960,000 in cash grants to eligible SMEs
Several large companies are helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) stay afloat as the coronavirus outbreak continues to take a toll on their finances and operations.
The initiatives involve providing much-needed relief and training to companies at a time when some government assistance is tapering off as the economy gradually reopens.
American software company Salesforce has partnered the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) to hand out $960,000 in cash grants to eligible SMEs.
The programme is expected to benefit 120 firms, which will each receive a grant of $8,000.
They can use the funds for cash-flow needs, such as rent and operating costs, to pay staff wages and to upgrade their skills or to digitalise.
Singapore-registered SMEs with at least 30 per cent local shareholding, an annual revenue of $150,000 to $2 million, and who employ between five and 50 employees, are eligible.
Applications opened last Monday and close on Dec 23.
Firms can visit http://bit.ly/3mgUXu0 to find out more.
Salesforce Singapore vice-president and general manager Cecily Ng said it is the right time for Singapore businesses to tap the grant money to fuel growth, given that the economy is beginning to recover.
Meanwhile, financial services firm American Express is helping to drive foot traffic back to stores by bringing its global Shop Small campaign to Singapore.
Card members get a $5 cashback when they spend at least $10 at participating businesses from tomorrow, for up to three times.
Around 2,000 businesses - at 11 CapitaLand malls and in areas such as Kampong Glam and Telok Ayer - are participating.
SMEs - generally defined as companies with an annual turnover of less than $100 million or fewer than 200 staff - form a significant part of Singapore's economy, accounting for about 99.5 per cent of the country's enterprises and 70 per cent of the workforce.
Besides financial assistance and incentives for shoppers, some companies are helping SMEs reinvent themselves through technology.
GrabFood Singapore senior director Dilip Roussenaly said: "Even as the economy gradually reopens, we believe the current challenges faced by SMEs such as resource limitations and the lack of know-how in the digital arena will persist."
Grab's recent initiatives to address this digital gap include its Grab Merchant Academy, an online training programme with modules for businesses in areas such as online store management, menu optimisation and online marketing.