Singapore’s Budget 2017 Helps SMEs Access Advanced Machine Tools, Go Digital

Singapore: The local government will support companies in the use of advanced machine tools for prototyping and testing, said Singapore’s Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat in his Budget 2017 speech on 20 February.

Such prototyping and testing may require costly specialised equipment, and under a new Tech Access Initiative, A*Star will provide access to such equipment, user training and advice.

The list of gear available will be made available by September this year. Advanced equipment such as robotised 3D scanners and high-pressure cold sprays for additive manufacturing are expected to make it into the list.

The statutory board currently partners SMEs through the Headstart programme. This allows SMEs that co-develop intellectual property with the agency to have royalty-free and exclusive licences for 18 months in the first instance, and this will be extended to 36 months.

Mr Heng also emphasised that “digitalisation, innovation and highly skilled workers will enable cities and regions to prosper while staying open and connected to the world.”

To this end, he announced the SMEs Go Digital Programme, where the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) will work with SPRING Singapore and other sector lead agencies to help companies build their digital capabilities.

Up to S$80 million (US$56.3 million) will be set aside for such programmes, which also include plans to strengthen data and cybersecurity.

APMEN News, Feb 2017

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