Our program concluded on Friday with a visit to SPRING Singapore. SPRING is an agency under the Ministry of Trade and Industry responsible for the promotion of product quality and standards, and growth and productivity improvements among Singapore’s small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)—companies with annual revenues of $1 million to $100 million.
The agency offers an almost infinite array of services and support, from leadership and management training and consulting services, to direct grants, matching grants and loans focusing its programs on providing money, markets, management and know-how.
SPRING is also focused on improving its labor participation rate, currently about 65%, by helping its workforce to “upscale” its skills and re-enter the workforce in either a full- or part-time capacity.
As a relatively new agency, SPRING has made its initial push in developing target industries core to Singapore’s economic vitality: manufacturing/engineering, lifestyle (retail, restaurants, hospitality) and services (professional services).
Throughout all of our visits, I’ve been impressed by the singular focus and alignment—at both the public- and private-level—as to the critical, macro-level challenges that Singapore’s government sets as a priority. In virtually every visit, from Cisco Singapore’s smart grid initiatives, to GE Water and Process Technologies focus on innovate, efficient sources of water for municipal and industrial use, it’s clear that the Singapore government invests heavily in setting and communicating national priorities, and ensuring a shared vision, common language and common understanding among intra- and extra-governmental stakeholders.