Budget 2021: Local companies can access co-funding schemes to transform, digitalise (The Straits Times)

The Government will provide local companies with a range of avenues to access capital they may need to innovate, transform and scale up their businesses.

“To catalyse the flow of capital and bridge market gaps, the Government will step up risk-sharing arrangements with providers of capital, and provide grants to support businesses at various stages of growth,” Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said on Tuesday (Feb 16).

To ensure that high-growth companies, including start-ups, have access to financial capital, the Venture Debt programme will be extended and enhanced – with an increase in the cap on loan quantum support from $5 million to $8 million.

“With this, we expect about $45 million of venture debt to be catalysed over the next year,” Mr Heng said.

Under the debt programme, the Government also shares up to 70 per cent of the risk on eligible loans with participating financial institutions.

From 2016 to 2019, early-stage funds raised for promising enterprises have grown at an annualised rate of 44 per cent, helping build an ecosystem of budding entrepreneurs and venture funds.

For more mature companies, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the Government will co-fund their plans to adopt digital solutions and new technologies.

A total of $1 billion has been set aside for new digital transformation schemes – such as the Emerging Technology Programme, Chief-Technology-Officer-as-a-Service (CTOaaS) initiative and Digital Leaders Programme – for mature companies.

The Emerging Technology Programme will co-fund the costs of trials and adoption of frontier technologies like 5G, artificial intelligence and trust technologies.

“This will support commercialisation of innovations and diffusion of technology downstream,” Mr Heng said.

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The Straits Times

16 February 2021

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