FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
31 May 2012
MEDIA RELEASE: NR/13/12
MORE SMES TO BENEFIT FROM INNOVATION AND CAPABILITY VOUCHER
SPRING expands scheme to cover productivity, human resources and financial management
- From 1 June 2012, SPRING Singapore will be expanding the scope of the Innovation Voucher Scheme (IVS) to cover three more areas –productivity, human resources development, and financial management. The scheme will be renamed the Innovation and Capability Voucher (ICV) to reflect the expanded scope and purpose.
- The expanded scope will allow more small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to take the first step to upgrade their capabilities in these key areas. In so doing, they can better manage costs, raise productivity and efficiency, and strengthen their business operations to achieve sustainable growth.
3. Companies can apply for vouchers valued at $5,000 each, to be used for diagnostics, feasibility studies, process upgrading, customised training, product or services development, and adoption of quality and standards. The voucher can be redeemed at more than 120 participating service providers.
- SPRING has set aside $32 million to assist some 1,600 SMEs a year, or 6,400 SMEs over four years.
5. Minister of State for Trade and Industry Mr Teo Ser Luck says, “While many of our SMEs understand the benefits of upgrading, they sometimes find the process of applying for assistance quite challenging. Like the IVS, the ICV scheme is simple to apply for and easy to use. We hope SMEs will take this first step towards building their capabilities in the core business areas of productivity, human resources development, and financial management. This will help them lay the foundation for sustainable growth in the long term.”
Innovation Voucher Scheme (IVS)
6. SPRING launched the IVS in March 2009 to encourage SMEs to tap technology to try out innovative ideas. Close to 700 SMEs have benefited from the technology services provided by 22 knowledge institutions (KIs), including polytechnics and research institutes.
7. One such company is Asia Marine Products Pte Ltd, which approached the Marine Offshore Technology Centre of Innovation at Ngee Ann Polytechnic (MOT COI) to conduct a feasibility study on how to improve the design of an industrial fan blower for use at shipyards. The collaboration resulted in a more energy- efficient design which delivers 20 per cent more air despite using a smaller motor. The company has since successfully applied for a grant under SPRING’s Technology Innovation Programme to further improve the product through the use of glass reinforced plastic, which is strong, yet lighter and more corrosion- resistant when compared to conventional steel. Says its Director, Mr Chung Cheong Woh, “We currently offer customised solutions using products from other manufacturers. But we knew that the real competitive advantage could only be achieved with innovation. The project with MOT COI gave us the confidence that our idea was feasible, and it was a crucial first step towards expanding our capabilities to develop new products."
- Another company which tapped the scheme to reinvent itself to meet changing customer needs is Lim Kee Food Manufacturing Pte Ltd, a leading manufacturer of steamed buns or baos. Says its Managing Director, Mr Ang He Siong, “The scheme was very helpful as we were able to channel resources meant for R&D to other business areas. The voucher kicked off our collaboration with the Food Innovation & Resource Centre at Singapore Polytechnic and enabled us to tap their technical expertise to develop wholemeal baos.” The company went on to finetune their product and added new fillings such as pumpkin and salted mung bean. The range of wholemeal baos recently attained the Healthier Choice certification by the Health Promotion Board.
- More information on the ICV can be found on the SPRING Singapore website at www.spring.gov.sg/icv. For enquiries, SMEs can call EnterpriseOne at 6898 1800.
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About SPRING Singapore
SPRING Singapore is an agency under the Ministry of Trade and Industry responsible for helping Singapore enterprises grow and building trust in Singapore products and services. As the enterprise development agency, SPRING works with partners to help enterprises in financing, capability and management development, technology and innovation, and access to markets. As the national standards and accreditation body, SPRING develops and promotes an internationally-recognised standards and quality assurance infrastructure.SPRING also oversees the safety of general consumer goods in Singapore.
ICV news release_final.docx [114.3 KB]