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IE-Spring merger: In step with new business era

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If one still needed a sign that the economic times we live in are at an important juncture, the Government delivered it last week.

The announcement that Spring Singapore and IE Singapore would be merged to form a new entity called Enterprise Singapore is as loud a signal as any that we have entered a new era in business and economics.

The merger will take effect in the second quarter of next year.

Spring is well known as the government agency focused on helping small and medium-sized enterprises develop their capabilities in everything from productivity to human resource matters. With over 400 employees, it helps businesses through programmes and grants such as the Spring Start-up Enterprise Development Scheme, which co-invests with the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) in innovative start-ups, and the Innovation and Capability Voucher, which provides financial support to companies seeking consultancy services on issues such as productivity, human resources and financial management.

One restaurant chain, House of Seafood, tapped Spring's Capability Development Grant this year to offset the cost of its Ready-to-Eat Crab vending machines, which it has installed at its outlets and various chalets, tertiary institutions and industrial estates islandwide.

IE, meanwhile, as a trade promotion agency, is the organisation that local SMEs turn to when they need a booster before venturing overseas or when they are already there. Its over 400 staff in over 35 countries help with funding, market research, introductions to foreign businessmen and government officials to get a new overseas unit off the ground.

One of its success stories is fashion blogshop Love, Bonito. When the firm wanted to open its first physical store in Malaysia, IE provided it with useful contacts, such as public relations, marketing, manufacturing and branding companies. In Indonesia, IE helped to connect Love, Bonito........

© The Straits Times