Government Financial Support
Information & Communications Technology and Media | 08 Oct 2020
Government Financial Support
AN INDSIGHTS RESEARCH REPORT SUMMARY
The Government Financial Support survey by IndSights Research seeks to ascertain how effective various forms of government financial support, particularly grants and loans, and how can the Government play a more supportive role to businesses. The survey was done in September 2020, with 426 Singapore ICT (Information & Communications Technology) businesses.
Singapore is generally seen as a good place to do business, with reasons such as favourable corporate tax, low corruption, stable government and economy, and a highly educated and mobile workforce. This observation is affirmed by Singapore consistently ranking within the top 10 easiest country to do business in. In 2020, Singapore ranked second in Asia and 18th worldwide.
What may not be obvious, is that the Government and its various support schemes play a big part in helping businesses in Singapore. This is sometimes alluded to in our conversations with the C-suites of businesses, even among those who may be critical of the implementation of some of the schemes.
Awareness of support schemes
The COVID-19 pandemic underscores the importance of the digital economy. While Singapore has been pushing for a Smart Nation plan, the pandemic accelerated that push exponentially. To get ahead of the fierce global competition, the Government has rolled out several initiatives to propel industries towards a thriving ecosystem and to prepare businesses for the recovery that will surely come.
In our poll, we found that more 80 percent of local SMEs were aware of at least one type of government support programme. This is encouraging. The numbers might be reflective of the times, where SMEs are looking for more support to tide them through the pandemic.
In our conversations with business leaders even before COVID-19, we also found that many were aware that support is available.
We have not been able to reference any prior studies that looked at the awareness of government support among Singaporean businesses, so this study might be the first.
The importance of financial support to businesses
About two-thirds of ICT companies felt that government financial support was at least moderately important for their business. It is possible that the importance of financial support might have been brought to the fore because of this time of crisis. That said, we have also heard an interesting point of viewfrom our conversations with ICT business leaders – while many companies do not mind having support, some also feel that companies should not overly depend on government support. These companies are hesitant to use government support as a crutch as they shared that this might mean that the business itself may not be healthy.
Applying for financial support
From our study, we found that at least 75 percent of companies which applied for financial support were successful in their application. This feedback augers well for the various government agencies, indicating a high level of support in general.
The Singapore Government has devoted around $100 billion dollars over 4 Budgets to help people and businesses amidst the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis. With the fluid nature of the pandemic situation worldwide, measures have been introduced and implemented in a manner that allows flexible adjustments.
For companies in the ICT industry, as well as those looking to digitalise, IMDA has various programmes such as the SME Grow Digital, and the E-invoicing registration grant (read more on E-invoicing HERE).
Various other schemes target areas like manpower, business development, productivity, loans, and networking and business collaboration opportunities. You may read more about the additional support in the infographics. In addition, visit our one-stop resource page to browse assistance schemes grouped according to business stage/function, or search for relevant schemes via GovAssist.
About the study
This survey collected views from 426 business leaders from the ICT industry, in September 2020.
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Click for full abridged version of the findings.