A new clinic was launched in Singapore to provide SMEs with a one-stop platform to provide feedback to public agencies and seek advice on regulations. The clinic called ‘SBF-ASME Pro-Enterprise Clinic’ began operations on 17 April 2019.

The parties involved with the launch were the Singapore Business Federation (SBF), Association of Small & Medium Enterprises (ASME) and the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s (MTI) Pro-Enterprise Panel (PEP). The platform is designed to perform several functions with the aim of reducing the point of contacts SMEs have with public agencies.

One example of its functions is that the platform can answer straightforward questions and direct companies to potential solutions for their business challenges. It will also collate feedback and more complex queries and channel them to MTI’s PEP, which will work with the relevant public agencies to address queries and suggestions for rule enhancements.

For more complex queries and issues, BF and ASME will arrange for one-to-one sessions with companies to discuss ways to reduce red tape and barriers to growth and innovation.

The clinic was launch at the SME Centre Conference 2019 by Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Chee Hong Tat. He also urges businesses to make use of the platform, stating that it will help improve the business environment.

“Over time, we hope to involve more TACs (trade associations and chambers) to work with the Pro-Enterprise Panel to provide such services and further support our companies”,  said Mr Chee. “When we review our rules, we help our companies reduce costs, save time and support their business ideas. But it also helps to keep our regulatory system nimble and responsive to new changes in business requirements and technology. It is a win-win partnership”.

President of ASME and chairman of the SBF SME Committee, Kurt Wee also had this to say: “Being in constant contact with the SME community, we have been hearing concerns from businesses that the feedback loop between enterprises and the government often takes quite some time. We believe that the introduction of the clinic allows an open feedback channel directly from SBF and ASME to the relevant public agencies to address issues in a timely manner. This can potentially reduce the complexity of the process and hence optimise help to SMEs”.