Tuesday, 22 March 2011


Media Release: NR/03/2011


New SME Definition and Launch of New Online Tools and E-Services


New SME Definition

1.            From 1 April 2011, small and medium-sized enterprises in Singapore will be defined as businesses with annual sales turnover of not more than $100 million or employing no more than 200 staff. Currently, SMEs are defined as enterprises with fixed asset investments of $15 million and below for those in manufacturing, and employment size of 200 and below for non-manufacturing enterprises[1].


2.             Mr Png Cheong Boon, Chief Executive, SPRING Singapore, said, “The new definition reflects the changing economic landscape and diversified profile of businesses where tangible fixed asset may not adequately reflect the size or stage of development of a company.  It helps us to better focus and allocate relevant resources, including grants to assist the SMEs.  By using sales turnover or employment, we are also more aligned with global practices and this facilitates benchmarking."



3.            The new definition comes after SPRING conducted an extensive review of global benchmarks and consulted various stakeholders. It was found that while the guidelines vary in the Asia-Pacific and European countries, sales turnover and employment size were commonly used to define SMEs.


4.            SMEs can also look forward to more help with the launch of an online productivity assessment tool and two e-services to alert them to government procurement opportunities and to find suitable business premises.


Online IMPACT Assessment Tool

5.            The Integrated Management of Productivity Activities (IMPACT) is an assessment tool that helps an SME to diagnose its productivity performance and pin-point the gaps to address.   A new interactive version of the assessment tool is now available on the Productivity@Work website at the EnterpriseOne portal (www.enterpriseone.gov.sg).


6.            SMEs will be able to identify their strengths and weaknesses in productivity management, benchmark against companies in the same industry, identify productivity improvement areas, and develop an actionable road map to improve productivity. Being an online tool, SMEs can perform their own assessment anytime at their convenience.


7.             To date, about 120 SMEs have conducted IMPACT assessments through the five Enterprise Development Centres (EDCs) and via SPRING's SME Management Action for Results (SMART) initiative.


8.            At least 1,000 enterprises are expected to use the online assessment tool annually.


9.            Besides the IMPACT assessment, the Productivity@Work website launched on 1 June 2010 provides a rich source of information on productivity concepts, tools to upgrade productivity, relevant government assistance schemes and case studies on productivity. To date, about 45,000 unique visitors have used the website.  


GeBIZ Alerts Saves SMEs Time and Effort


10.         SMEs can now also benefit from two new e-services available at the EnterpriseOne portal. The first e-service is GeBIZ Alerts, which alerts subscribers to bids posted on GeBIZ. GeBIZ is Singapore’s government procurement portal. Annually, more than 67,000 projects  worth about $15.5 billion are procured through this portal. Currently, companies have to monitor the GeBIZ website regularly to seek out government tenders and ITQs.   GeBIZ Alerts will save them time and resources by pushing customised information on government procurements to them. Some 30,000 companies will benefit from this alerts service.  For the government, this means more bids may be received, thereby increasing the choice of selection.


BizMap Helps SMEs Search for Suitable Premises


11.         The second e-service is BizMap which makes it convenient for companies to search online for properties for rent or lease from government agencies such as the Housing and Development Board (HDB) and Singapore Land Authority (SLA), based on location, rental rates, size and property types. The search results are displayed in an interactive map for easy reference. Currently, companies have to go to different government agencies’ websites to look up and compare rental rates.  Now, BizMap enables them to quickly locate suitable premises in the best locations at the most competitive costs, all at one website.  Annually, for example, there are over a million searches for HDB and SLA-owned properties for rent.


12.         The two new e-services are joint efforts of EnterpriseOne and various government agencies such as the Infocomm Development Authority, the Defence Science and Technology Authority, SLA and HDB.


13.         These announcements were made at the third annual EDC Conference. It is organised jointly by the EDCs located at the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, the Singapore Manufacturers’ Federation, the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Singapore Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry. With the theme “Go, Grow and Globalise – Building Capabilities”, this year’s conference focuses on strategies to build resilience, strengthen capabilities and achieve higher productivity. About 400 participants attended this free conference.


---End of Media Release---



About SPRING Singapore

SPRING Singapore is the enterprise development agency responsible for helping Singapore enterprises grow. We work with partners to help enterprises in financing, capability and management development, technology and innovation, and accessing new markets. As the national standards and accreditation body, SPRING develops and promotes an internationally-recognised standards and quality assurance infrastructure that builds trust in Singapore enterprises, products and services, thereby enabling their global competitiveness and facilitating global trade.


Please visit www.spring.gov.sg for more information and news about SPRING Singapore.

[1] Non-manufacturing sectors includes services, construction, agriculture & fishing, utilities etc.


Factsheet on New SME Definition


With effect from 1 April 2011, the new SME definition will better reflect the changing profile of SMEs and ensure they have greater access to government incentives that use the SME definition as an eligibility criterion.



Current SME Definition


New SME Definition

(With effect from 1 April 2011)


·         Net Fixed Asset Investment (FAI) of not more than S$15 million

(for manufacturing enterprises)


·         Employment size of not more than 200 workers

(for non-manufacturing enterprises[1])


·         Annual Sales turnover of not more than S$100 million




·         Employment size of not more than 200 workers

Manufacturing or Non-Manufacturing Component


Enterprises are bound by the parameters set within the manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors

Enterprises qualify as SMEs as long as they satisfy at least one of the two parameters above, regardless of whether they fall under the manufacturing or non-manufacturing sector



The eligibility criteria of at least 30% local shareholding being held by Singaporeans or Singapore PRs will still remain, for enterprises to qualify for the SME assistance programmes.



Rationale for Revision

i.      Manufacturing enterprises are increasingly becoming more asset-light due to the trend of leaseback on equipment and buildings. Hence FAI may no longer be an accurate measure of how small the business is.


ii.    The change will benefit small enterprises in capital-intensive and labour-intensive industries, which currently do not have access to government incentives that use the SME definition as an eligibility criterion, due to their high FAI and employment size.


iii.   The new definition would be comparable to those used in the Asia-Pacific and European countries, where sales turnover and employment size are commonly used to define SMEs.





Implications of new SME Definition


i.      There will be a marginal increase on the overall SME numbers. SMEs will make up about 99% of the total enterprise population.


Current SME Definition

New SME Definition (with effect from 1 April 2011)

153,400 SMEs (make up 98.9% of total enterprises)

154,100 SMEs (make up 99.3% of total enterprises)



ii.    Only a marginal number of current SMEs will no longer qualify under the new definition. These are mainly the large manufacturing enterprises which are asset-light.


iii.   The new SME definition will be adopted for SME assistance schemes offered by SPRING and IE Singapore. It will also be applied to all official SME statistical collection, analysis, reporting and benchmarking.



Enquiries or Assistance

For enquiries, SMEs may contact either EnterpriseOne at 6898 1800 or e-mail at enterpriseone@spring.gov.sg.


Alternatively, they may also contact the five Enterprise Development Centres (EDCs) at the following numbers:

EDC@SMa: Tel: (65) 6826 3020, edc@edc-sma.sg
EDC@ASME: Tel: (65) 6513 0388, edc@edc-asme.sg
EDC@SCCCI: Tel: (65) 6337 8381, edc@edc.sccci.sg
EDC@SICCI: Tel: (65) 6508 0147, edc@edc-sicci.sg 
EDC@SMCCI: Tel: (65) 6293 3822, edc@edc-smcci.sg

Fact Sheet on IMPACT, GeBIZ Alerts and BizMap




What is IMPACT?


1.        SPRING Singapore developed the Integrated Management of Productivity Activities (IMPACT) framework to help enterprises manage and improve their productivity in a systematic manner.  IMPACT comprises five critical phases:

a.                Establish Productivity Management Function

b.                Diagnose

c.                Develop Road Map

d.                Implement Measurement System

e.                Implement Performance Management System


2.        SPRING launched the IMPACT Assessment Tool in October 2010. The assessment is done in two parts:

a.                Qualitative assessment of the enterprise’s productivity management  

              functions and productivity levers; and

b.                Quantitative assessment of the enterprise’s productivity performance using 10 key productivity indicators. This is compared against the industry average.


Benefits of IMPACT


3.        Enterprises that have gone through the IMPACT assessment found it helped them to:

a.                Identify their strengths and weaknesses in productivity management

b.                Gauge where they are in relation to other companies in the same industry

c.                Identify areas to focus on to improve productivity

d.                Develop a road map of specific actions to improve productivity


Where can enterprises go for IMPACT assessment?


4.        Enterprises may carry out the IMPACT assessment through:

a.                Productivity@Work website (www.enterpriseone.gov.sg) for a free self-assessment using the online IMPACT Assessment Tool.  Enterprises can perform the assessment anywhere and at their own convenience. 

b.                Enterprise Development Centres (EDCs) under the Productivity Management Programme (PMP).  Productivity advisors at the five EDCs can provide a first-level diagnosis of the enterprise’s productivity performance using the IMPACT Assessment Tool.  The five EDCs are at: the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Singapore Manufacturers’ Federation and Singapore Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

c.                SPRING’s SME Management Action for Results (SMART) initiative.  A qualified consultant works with the enterprise over six man-days to develop a road map to build its business capabilities. SPRING supports up to 50% of the consultancy cost, subject to a maximum grant of $3,000.


5.        For information on the IMPACT Assessment Tool, or to download a copy of Guide to Integrated Management of Productivity Activities (IMPACT), visit the Productivity@Work website at www.enterpriseone.gov.sg.


GeBIZ Alerts


What is the problem?

Businesses have to search through the GeBIZ portal regularly to obtain information on business opportunities (e.g. ITQs/Tenders) posted by the government. This can be time-consuming, labour intensive and costly. 

What is the solution?

GeBIZ Alerts provides daily alerts on business opportunities posted on the GeBIZ portal. Users can sign up on the EnterpriseOne portal and set up their notification preferences by selecting the relevant categories they are interested in. GeBIZ Alerts will notify users daily through email of government tenders and quotations based on their preferences. Users may amend their notification preferences any time.


Key benefits of GeBIZ Alerts include time-saving and convenience. By receiving personalised information of businesses opportunities posted on GeBIZ on a daily basis, businesses no longer need to spend time and effort to search for the information on the GeBIZ portal.

By improving businesses’ access to bids posted on GeBIZ, the government can benefit from more competitive quotes.


What is the problem?

Government agencies with properties to let publish their rental information on their websites. Businesses looking for premises have to go to the different websites to gather information and compare rates.

What is the solution?

BizMap aggregates rental information from various agencies and presents them in online maps on the Singapore Land Authority’s (SLA) OneMap. Businesses can search for properties based on type, price, size, area, etc. They can also review information on public transport and amenities in the area. .


With all the information at one location, users no longer have to visit various government agencies’ websites to search for and compare the options available. BizMap provides real-time information, ensuring that users have the latest information anytime and anywhere.


[1] Non-manufacturing sectors includes services, construction, agriculture & fishing, utilities etc.