On accessible support for small businesses, it is an economically difficult time especially for small and micro-businesses as they battle rising costs and inflation amongst other global headwinds in the wake of COVID-19. Additionally, these businesses would also be particularly hard hit by our green transformation.
Climate change is an amplifier. While it might sometimes melt into the background as other more pressing and tangible economic concerns take precedence, its impact and undercurrents do not go away. Small and micro-businesses will soon feel the trickle-down effects of increased environmental regulations and pressures. And it is important that sufficient and flexible support is provided for them to build capacity on sustainability matters in these times.
This is also, as Senior Minister of State Teo mentioned last week, that we will be enhancing our public procurement strategy, to take into account public sector sustainability efforts. Our small and micro-businesses should not feel confused or overwhelmed by the diverse schemes and other support options available to them with the attendant KPIs and targets.
Additionally, could the Government introduce a variety of nudges and incentives to encourage small businesses to more quickly integrate sustainability, in particular environmental sustainability, into their businesses.
I would also like to ask how the Government has taken steps to ensure that access to funding and support to navigate and successfully apply for green financing schemes are provided. For example, the Enterprise Innovation scheme could have sustainability integrated as part of the criteria for tax deductions as well as for grants under the co-investment fund. The Enterprise Sustainability programme can also be expanded to include support to access sustainable financing opportunities.
Sustainability should be a driving focus of innovation and economic resilience and the Government is a key enabler to making this core to our small businesses.
Ministry of Trade and Industry
28 February 2023