MARKETS & INVESTING | Staff Reporter, Singapore

4 in 5 SMEs expect more business incentives from Budget: survey

Firms aim to address in manpower and cost challenges.

Eight in ten small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are hoping to receive more business incentives in the upcoming Budget announcement as they cite high operational costs as amongst their top business priorities, a survey by DBS revealed.

Manpower issues still constitute the main headache for Singapore SMEs (26.5%) followed by high operational costs (21.5%) and growing business revenue (21%).

Also readSMEs expect 15% lower turnover amidst challenging business environment: report

But amidst challenges in hiring and employee retention, four out of five SMEs surveyed that their staff have the right skills for the job as most SMEs claim that already enjoy access to affordable said that they now have access to affordable training programmes, as a result of the government’s SkillsFuture campaign.

“Many of our SMEs customers have channelled resources to upskilling their employees so that they can improve their overall productivity and efficiency. The benefits reaped are plentiful, and they can now focus their efforts on other parts of their business, such as growing their revenue and expanding overseas,” said Joyce Tee, group head of SME Banking at DBS Bank.

Seven in ten SMEs are turning to government agencies for assistance regarding topics such as partnerships and business grants, internationalisation and scaling up their business, tax-related matters. “Even though smaller businesses typically require more assistance in weathering storms, innovation, nimbleness and the ability to adapt to change quickly will enable SMEs to thrive in uncertain times,” Tee continued.

Furthermore, 18% of SMEs polled that they are looking to expand overseas. However, more than half of them (55%) admitted that their lack of market knowledge and understanding of regulatory requirements are the main challenges of overseas expansion.

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