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  • SME Convention 2016: Inaugural Government Procurement Fair paves the way for greater SMEs’ participation in government projects

SME Convention 2016: Inaugural Government Procurement Fair paves the way for greater SMEs’ participation in government projects

• SBF unveils new initiative to enhance SME participation in government procurement.

• Internationalisation, innovation and leadership and management identified as key to SMEs' growth and success.

28 January 2016 [Singapore] - The SBF-led SME Committee (SMEC) held the SME Convention 2016 today, incorporating the inaugural Government Procurement Fair. Attended by some 500 C-level and management executives, the event is aimed at sharing knowledge, insights and expertise on how SMEs can leverage government procurement opportunities to build their track record in internationalisation and growth. SME convention 2016 is graced by Minister of State for Trade and Industry Dr Koh Poh Koon.

Although government procurement will provide an important avenue for SMEs to gain track record for internationalisation and growth, it is estimated that less than 5% of the SME population secure government contracts. This is despite the fact that 70% of government tenders and about 50% by value are awarded to SMEs.

Government Procurement Fair

The Government Procurement Fair is part of an 18-month project funded under the Local Enterprise and Association Development (LEAD) programme to enable more SMEs to participate in government procurement based on the following two broad strategies:

a) Strategic Thrust 1: Research and Empirical Studies

To conduct surveys, workshops, focus group discussions to gather feedback on challenges and issues for SME participation in government procurement. Overseas study trips will also be mounted to study international best practises where government procurement is used as a leverage to help local businesses. 
b) Strategic Thrust 2: Outreach and Education Programmes

To organise Government Procurement Fairs and workshops to increase SMEs awareness of opportunities, processes and procedures for participation in government procurement.

The first collaboration between SMEC and government agencies, the inaugural Government Procurement Fair aims to encourage and enable more SMEs to tap on government procurement for growth. During the event, a panel discussion will be dedicated to the sharing of experience on government procurement by SMEs that have been successful in securing government contracts. The programme also includes breakout clinic sessions led by the respective government agencies to provide sectoral-specific advice and guidance on how SMEs may begin their government procurement journey.

Participating government agencies include:
• Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
• Building and Construction Authority
• Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
• JTC Corporation
• Ministry of Education
• Ministry of Finance
• Ministry of Trade and Industry
• SPRING Singapore
• Singapore Tourism Board

Key growth challenges for SMEs

The SME Convention 2016 focuses on ways for SMEs to look ahead for growth through internationalisation, innovation and leadership and management. Presentations and panel discussions cover topics such as opportunities for regional and global growth for SMEs, accelerating growth through technology adoption, and understanding how leadership is critical for business growth. SMEC will also be sharing its Recommendations for Singapore Budget 2016.

To facilitate SMEs’ learning on innovation and corresponding international best practices, Mr Leo Park, Senior Manager of the International Business Department at the Korean Technology Finance Corporation (KOTEC), will share on Korea’s method of encouraging businesses to harness new technologies through an effective evaluation system.

Mr Ho Meng Kit, CEO of SBF, said, “The objectives we set out to achieve through the inaugural Government Procurement Fair are aligned with some of the key recommendations outlined in SBF’s recent Business Position Paper, which include driving the development of our local enterprises. Government procurement can provide a meaningful way to develop our SMEs. It provides them jobs, establishes their presence and builds their track record.”

Mr Ho added, “We appreciate the collaboration with the government agencies in helping our SMEs grow. We will continue to work with the business community, relevant agencies and partners to develop and roll out similar programmes to boost the development of our businesses.”

Mr Lawrence Leow, Chairman of SMEC, said, “As the global economy evolves, it is becoming more imperative for our local enterprises to innovate and internationalise in order to grow. Government procurement provides a good avenue for businesses to embark on their innovation journey, especially with public projects related to national strategies such as the Smart Nation initiative. Through their government procurement experience, SMEs are able to gain the necessary expertise to be competitive outside Singapore. We hope that SMEs can leverage on government procurement to build not only their track record but their capabilities as well.”

Welcome Address by SME Committee Chairman Mr Lawrence Leow

Opening Address by Guest-of-Honour Dr Koh Poh Koon, Minister of State, Ministry of National Development and Ministry of Trade and Industry

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