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Singapore budget goes full throttle on innovation

ON MONDAY, the Singapore government announced a slew of measures a part of its new budget, that will motivate and support the nation’s businesses to fast-track their innovation programmes.

A new Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG), for example, will come into effect from April 1 and will help businesses buy off-the-shelf productivity solutions.

The PSG will provide funding support for up to 70 percent of the qualifying costs, up to SGD100,000 (US$75,786) for investments to improve innovation and productivity. It will also offer a 200 percent tax deduction capped at SGD100,000 on licensing payments per year, between years of assessment (YA) 2019 to 2025.

This cap “ensures that smaller businesses will benefit more from this measure”, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said in his Budget speech, as noted by Today.

To incentivize businesses to work harder on innovating and protecting those innovations, a tax deduction of 200 percent will be offered on intellectual property registration fees which will be capped at S$100,000.

Singapore is also building an Open Innovation Platform to help businesses find partners to collaborate with.

Started by the government, this new platform will pilot a virtual crowd-sourcing platform where companies can list their challenges and see who might come up with a viable, smart, digital solution.

Additionally, the government also said that it is sensitive to the changes in the business environment with the rising use of technology, and understands that workers and businesses would need to build digital capabilities to succeed.

To help them, the government will set aside SGD145 million (US$109.87 million) over the next three years to expand the IMDA’s Tech Skills Accelerator (Tesa) initiative. It will now also offer AI, big data, and other emerging tech training programs.