Singapore has a strong background in data center capacity, which is set to rise. Source: Unsplash

Singapore pledges to help companies ‘go digital’ in 2017 budget

THE Singaporean government has set aside S$2.4 billion (US$1.7 billion) from the 2017 national budget to help local companies digitize.

The investment is a bid to help future-proof the city state’s economy, by transforming local businesses so they can keep up with the digital era.

“Singapore should develop strong capabilities in our firms and workers, so they can adapt to the changes in economic structures and technology,” Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said in a speech introducing the budget on Monday.

“Digitalization [sic], innovation and highly skilled workers will enable cities and regions to prosper while staying open and connected to the world.”

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He also noted that both large and small businesses, and particularly small and medium enterprises (SMEs), needed support in adopting digital tools.

The government will offer access to assistance and specially designated centers and a new SME Technology Hub.

Overall, the government will provide S$80 million (US$56.43 million) to facilitate several initiatives to help these businesses.

The minister also said he wants to strengthen the countries capabilities in data security and cybersecurity. To do this the Cyber Security Agency (CSA) of Singapore will work with professional bodies to train cybersecurity professionals.

Eric Meyer, CEO of Cyber Security firm, Apvera, told Tech Wire Asia: “Investing in and developing Singapore’s digital capabilities will only help transform the threat landscape to further safeguard corporate assets, improving both social and corporate responsibility.”

He added: “Regardless of size, companies need to protect themselves from cyber threats or malicious activities which could otherwise leave them open to potentially damaging attacks.”

Also in the budget are plans for the government’s research agency A*Star to support 400 organizations over the next four years, helping them identify technology that would enable them to better compete in the market.

Furthermore, a new S$600 million (US$423.22 million) fund will also be created to co-invest with Singapore companies looking to expand into global markets.