(Singapore, June 12, 2020) Businesses in Singapore are still keen to adopt technology, especially during the circuit breaker period, Mr. Ho Meng Kit, CEO of Singapore Business Federation, told Fortune Times in an interview.

Mr. Ho Meng Kit, CEO of Singapore Business Federation Source: SBF

“Retail and F&B businesses have adopted e-commerce solutions as an alternative to continue operating… services providers like consultancy firms have also seen a surge in demand from companies seeking their advice on restructuring business operations in the wake of COVID-19,” said Mr. Ho, noting that some businesses have also turned to online meeting platforms to meet their clients.

According to a survey on the Resilience Budget that was conducted in April 2020, a large proportion of businesses are exploring investments in long-term capabilities for growth. They have also found the Government’s plans for investing in R&D under the Research, Innovation & Enterprise (RIE) 2025 to be useful.

“E-commerce platforms are also leveraging on big data to tailor their product and service offerings for customers. Moving forward, we can also look forward to a stronger push towards the application of AI solutions to guide business transformation efforts, especially in areas such as managing supply chains and delivery services,” he added.

He said besides the S$4.5 billion of loans through Government financial schemes like the Temporary Bridging Loan program and the Enterprise Financing Scheme, startups can leverage the additional S$285 million that the Government has set aside to match private investments and help them sustain their innovation and entrepreneurship activities while gaining access to credit.

Yesterday, SBF announced to set up a $2.5 million Rising in Support of Enterprises (RISE) Fund in partnership with Enterprise Singapore (ESG). Also, it will partner the SBF Foundation in its $2 million industry-led Compassion Fund.

These two initiatives aim to help businesses, particularly small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), tide over the challenges arising from COVID-19 by supporting them in three areas: business sustenance, business growth, and capability-upgrading, and increase workforce resilience by providing financial assistance to workers in need.

Running from July 1, 2020, to December 31, 2021, or until the fund is exhausted, the 18-month RISE Program will provide Singapore businesses with adequate time to relook at their business strategies and processes and to decide on suitable courses and events to meet their objectives.

SBF expects at least 5,000 of the SBF’s SME members will benefit from the fund.

In Singapore, SBF acts as a bridge between businesses and the Government. It also represents the business community for trade expansion and business networking in the world.

Mr. Ho said during the COVID-19 pandemic, SBF helps its members navigate and access the various Government’s assistance, introduces more enterprise capacity-building programs on Business Continuity Planning and Business Resilience, and provides local businesses with an additional source of accessible and affordable funding.