SINGAPORE – The economic recovery appears to be firmly entrenched, with new data showing companies are stepping up steps to reconfigure their business models for the post-pandemic environment, while demands for government assistance have declined.
Enterprise Singapore (ESG) noted on Friday (February 11) that the number of companies receiving government support for their growth and transformation efforts had increased by 44% to 22,100 last year.
The more robust economy is also reflected in a sharp 40% drop in the number of companies seeking public funding to 12,600 in 2020.
Business continuity and cash flow challenges also appear to have eased over the past year, with companies taking out $8.6 billion in loans, down 52% from 2020.
The ESG’s 2021 report card was in part a snapshot of the sweeping changes taking place among some of Singapore’s 280,000 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which make up 99% of the base the agency serves.
Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong sounded a note of cautious optimism during the briefing: “We are facing cost pressures from rising energy and raw material prices. , as well as supply chain bottlenecks. Geopolitical tensions have caused major uncertainties and potentially, a new technological fork.”
Omicron added another layer of uncertainty, but with high and rising vaccination rates in Singapore, declining Covid-related deaths and signs of a strong global economic recovery, “we have reason to be confident “, he added.
Instead of simply weathering the pandemic last year, 1,600 local companies tapped for ESG support in overseas markets, spurred both by new digital capabilities and a drive to find new sources of supply .
A survey by the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) in the second half of last year found sentiment had improved, with the number of businesses saying the pandemic had hurt operations falling from 63% in 2020 to 34%.
SBF General Manager Lam Yi Young said companies are also more confident about expanding overseas: “One in three companies say they are confident in continuing to expand overseas. over the next six to 12 months.
“The main countries where companies are engaged in overseas business are Malaysia, China and Indonesia.”
SBF partnered with Enterprise Singapore to launch the [email protected] program in November 2019, which facilitated 80 projects over two years.
ESG Chairman Peter Ong said he was “inspired” by the common sense of local businesses: “Compared to 2020, ESG has facilitated overseas projects for more companies in 2021. Although this number is still lower than the number of projects secured before Covid, it is still encouraging to see many continue.”