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Singapore’s Ministry of Communications and Information: Transformational Businesses Require Agility

Overpass of the light trails, beautiful curves.

Speaking recently, Dr Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information acknowledges that the mix of geopolitical issues, rising commodity prices, continuous technological upheaval and persistent uncertainty over the global economic recovery from the epidemic has already produced tremendous flux in the first few months of 2022.

The Singaporean government is determined to help those companies who are willing to go further through innovation and experiments that develop new ways to solve problems because the research and development (R&D), as well as the innovation, are the critical enablers for businesses to stay ahead in a fast-moving digital space.

The concept of digital transformation is now at the heart of a transformational business’s strategy, goals, and mission. It is no longer a “nice to have,” but rather a requirement.

Businesses today require a certain agility. They need to be able to evolve in the face of constant disruption. Today’s solutions may not be valid very soon thereafter.

– Dr Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information

To better support the local enterprises in their innovation journey, the government has set aside funding of SG$ 25 billion dollars, roughly 1% of the nation’s GDP to support research, innovation, and enterprise over the five years through the Research Innovation and Enterprise Plan (RIE 2025).

Part of this is being used to support R&D in the Smart Nation and Digital Economy domain, which includes Artificial Intelligence, cybersecurity and quantum computing, among other technologies. These funds do not provide all the financing for these technology areas, as some of the grants and support are applied to use cases that end up utilising Artificial Intelligence or quantum computing technologies. As a result, the total sum allocated to several of these technologies exceeds what was outlined in RIE 2025.

The government has also developed a suite of supporting services and opportunities for enterprises who are keen to innovate and trial their solutions like a 5G open testbed to help companies develop, implement, and commercialise 5G solutions, or the Centre of Innovation (COI) for Electronics and IoT set up in partnership with Nanyang Polytechnic.

In addition, the Punggol Digital District (PDD), Singapore’s first smart business district also showcases Singapore’s commitment to supporting companies in their creation of smart city solutions. It is powered by the Open Digital Platform (ODP) and provides “plug and play” digital infrastructure for enterprises wishing to innovate.

Singapore is committed to helping companies scale-up effectively, to compete on the global stage as they launched the Grow Digital initiative in 2020 to help SMEs access new overseas markets without the need to establish an in-market physical presence, while the Global Innovation Alliance network helps connect SMEs with major innovation hubs around the world.

Furthermore, areas in which the government should refer to support the local businesses and achieve the successes that they would like to see for Singapore and Singapore businesses are placing digital technologies as the core of its business; making continued investments in R&D and innovation; and broadening its reach to the international market, beyond Singapore’s shores.

In 2017, the SMEs Go Digital programme was launched to make going digital as simple as possible. Over 80,000 SMEs have taken advantage of the initiative and implemented digital solutions. There’s also the Enterprise Development Grant, which can help SMEs cut expenses by automating their procedures.

Hence, internationalisation is a means of growing into new markets and the local businesses have more opportunities to look overseas because there are no physical limits in the digital arena, while the government remains committed to supporting the digital transformation of the local enterprises, which form the backbone of its economy.

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