Singapore - Budget 2017: Push For Small And Medium Enterprises To 'Go Digital'.

Legal News & Analysis - Asia Pacific - Singapore - Cybersecurity

20 July, 2017


Initiatives to build use of digital technology


During the Budget 2017, the Government announced the allocation of $80 million in funding for the newly introduced 'SMEs Go Digital' Programme. This is aimed at helping Small and Medium Enterprises ("SMEs") build its digital capability to seize opportunities for growth in the digital economy.


The SMEs Go Digital Programme will help SMEs in three main areas.


First, by supplying pre-approved technology solutions. SMEs will be able to access a supply of Infocommunication Media solutions that have been previously tested and preapproved by the Info-communications Media Development Authority ("IMDA").


These solutions include digital ordering and payment, supply chain optimization and resource and billing management. This would be enhanced by Industry Digital Plans that will be made available at the end of 2017.


Second, SMEs will be able to obtain in-person help at SME Centres This will be achieved by the launch of the SME Technology Hub in the third quarter of 2017, where SMEs can get advice on areas such as data analytics, data protection and cybersecurity.


For SMEs intending to use new information and communication technology solutions, the SME Digital Tech Hub can also guide them on the appropriate solutions that would enable them to make full use of the available technology.


Training will also be provided. The SME Digital Tech Hub is slated to hold workshops and seminars, and the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore will aim to train cybersecurity professionals.


Third, support will be provided for companies developing emerging technology solutions. For instance, A*Star has spearheaded the Operation and Technology Road-mapping Programme, where it works with companies to create a customized technology strategy to bring their research and development projects to fruition and will expand its efforts to support 400 companies over the next four years. Similarly, under the Headstart programme, A*Star will partner SMEs to develop intellectual property and enjoy royalty free and exclusive licences for up to 36 months. This is complemented by the Technology Access Initiative where A*Star will provide access to specialized equipment to companies looking to use advanced machinery to develop and test its prototypes. 





These initiatives and projects provide greater commercial opportunities to businesses involved in the digital sector, particularly in its research and development efforts.


SMEs which take full advantage of these initiatives will be able to enter into the digital technology sector or utilize digital technology in its day-to-day businesses to improve productivity. However, SMEs should obtain advice and be aware of the risks of the use of new digital technology or products, for instance, in relation to liability under the Personal Data Protection Act and the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act.


Moreover, in the course of the development of new products or research, businesses should protect its intellectual property rights.


This is of paramount importance where the technology or digital solutions were developed in collaboration with or with the assistance of an external body. 


Baker McKenzie


For further information, please contact:


Andy Leck, Principal, Baker & McKenzie.Wong & Leow