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Written by: Christopher Chitty 

Small and medium Enterprises or more commonly known as SMEs are companies whose headcount or turnover falls within a certain limit set by the governing authority of the country. SMEs are often responsible for driving innovation and competition in many economic sectors.

As of 1st April 2011, small and medium enterprises in Singapore are defined as businesses with an annual sales turnover of not more than S$100 million or with no more than 200 staff in their employ.

The government has launched an online productivity assessment tool and two e-services to assist SMEs in productivity studies and provide them with Alerts regarding government procurement opportunities. This can also assist them in finding suitable business premises.

The assessment tool known as The Integrated Management of Productivity Activities or IMPACT is a tool meant to assist an SME in diagnosing its productivity performance and isolate neglected or under-utilized areas for the SME to address. IMPACT also presents SMEs with the unique ability to identify their strengths and weaknesses as well as benchmark against companies from the same industry. SMEs can also use the tool to develop a functional business roadmap to improve productivity. The IMPACT tool page can be found at the Productivity@Work portal through EnterpriseOne.

To aid with the process, the government also provides two e-services to subscribers of EnterpriseOne; GeBiz Alerts and BizMap.

GeBiz is the Singapore Government's procurement portal and its statistics boast an annual 67,000 projects worth about S$15.5 billion which have been procured through the site. Before GeBiz Alerts, companies would have to monitor the site regularly to be kept abreast of all information pertaining to government tenders and ITQs (Individual Transferable Quotas). With Alerts, time and resources are saved as information can be customized and sent to them directly, eliminating the need for manual surveillance of the portal.

The second e-service is BizMap and it is an interactive map which displays whatever the company is searching for such as rent or leases from government agencies like HDB or SLA based upon location, size, rental rates and property types. It eliminates the need to do multiple page views to obtain the necessary information by collating all relevant material as set by the individual company. In one page, the SME can locate quickly the most suitable property in the best location at a competitive price. 

As SMEs make up about 90% of all enterprises in Singapore and commands more than half of the workforce, it contributes a large percentage to the overall GDP growth. As of 2007, SMEs contributed 42% to the nation's GDP amounting to about S$58 billion.

On March 1st 2012, DPM Tharman said that the ‘transformation of Singapore's SMEs over the next decade is also essential to raise productivity, incomes and living standards for Singaporeans'.

Even though the operating environment for SMEs is a tough one in land scarce Singapore, the government firmly believes that SMEs must not be neglected as the country progresses and has pledged to assist SMEs in the upgrading of skills, developing new products and brands as well as finding new markets abroad to ensure that they not just survive but thrive.

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