What's in it for enterprises?
Like many companies across the world, Singapore enterprises are gearing up to transform their businesses digitally to face the inevitable disruption heading towards their industries.
The Budget 2018 unveiled by the government in February 2018 offers several incentives to companies to grow and thrive in a time of change. The aim: help them tap on innovation, scale and go global.
Growth is expected, particularly, in manufacturing, finance and insurance, transportation and storage, wholesale trade, as well as retail and food services.
How can enterprises benefit from the measures from Budget 2018?
Here are three strategic areas to consider:
(A) Tap on innovation to grow
Technology is central to a digital economy. It is a key enabler to how customers connect with companies. Thus, one important part of Budget 2018 is focused on enabling companies to better tap on technology to grow.
The Open Innovation Platform, in particular, is an ambitious crowdfunding platform to facilitate collaboration between enterprises and solution providers, which is meant to help more enterprises apply new technologies to address specific business needs.
To be launched by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) in the second quarter this year, it will assist many enterprises to “go digital” by defining their requirements and having the solutions created by a community of solution providers.
Many companies may wish to transform but do not have the budget or time to scope their requirements. The platform helps them better identify their needs by collaborating with end-users and build solutions with potential to scale and be exported
Among the innovations seen as crucial are Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI), which will impact businesses across many sectors. AI, for example, can be used for self-driving cars as well as chatbots. Both will enhance the experience for customers and boost business for enterprises embracing them.
(B) Build, scale and go international
Budget 2018 also supports enterprises that seek to build, scale and go international. For many mid- and large-sized enterprises, the only way to grow is to go global. At the same time, they have to face up to competition from global disrupters that are entering new markets to capture their customers.
For Singapore enterprises to become globally competitive players, the government wants to provide “holistic and customised support” to help build deep capabilities, scale up and go global, The Business Times reported.
This is done through the new Enterprise Development Grant (EDG), which will combine two previous schemes called the Capability Development Grant (CDG) and the Global Company Partnership (GCP), in the fourth quarter this year. This provides up to 70 per cent of co-funding for qualifying projects.
Companies can also look to less tax if they spend more on innovations that qualify under the Double Tax Deduction for Internationalisation scheme. The amount of expenses that qualify without prior approval will go up from S$100,000 to S$150,000 each year, starting from YA2019.
(C) Strengthen Singapore’s links to rest of world
At the centre of global trade, Singapore’s economic fortunes often follow those of the world’s. Facing an uncertain economic climate, enterprises can find new opportunities as well as stability by strengthening ties to counterparts across the world.
One new initiative that supports this is the new Infrastructure Office, to be open in October this year. It seeks to promote collaboration between local and foreign enterprises to work on infrastructure projects that are blossoming in Southeast Asia and other parts of developing Asia.
According to the government, the opportunities will span across a wide spectrum, including financial services, professional services, precision engineering and construction. The Infrastructure Office will bring together infrastructure developers, multilateral government agencies, and legal, accounting and financial services providers.
For enterprises, tapping on this pool of knowledge and being part of the ecosystem could make it easier for them to find opportunities as they will be part of a group addressing this growing sector in the region.
Planning for the future
These concrete plans outlined in Budget 2018 are aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of local enterprises as they enter a period now commonly called the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Like electricity, the steam engine and the Internet before it, digital services are now expected to drastically change the way businesses are done. As they plot their route through these unchartered waters, enterprises can draw on the assistance provided by the government to go a step closer to becoming a fully digital organisation.
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