A new survey conducted by SME Magazine reveals that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore are growing despite challenging economic conditions.

Even though the Singaporean economy only grew 0.1 per cent in the second quarter of this year according to Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) data, the SMEs surveyed posted an average revenue jump of 109 per cent compared to the previous year.

The survey also recorded the revenue growth of startups less than three years old, which also posted average revenue increases of six times compared to the previous year.

“While the records set by these fast moving companies may not be representative of all SMEs, it dispels the myth that business has been difficult for SMEs in general in Singapore,” said William Ng, group publisher and editor-in-chief of SME Magazine during the announcement of the survey results cum SME100 awards ceremony.

The SME100 team surveyed 2,000 top SMEs in Singapore between February and May this year. Out of these, 50 fast moving SMEs were selected based on quantitative criteria such as revenue growth and profit, and qualitative criteria such as business outlook, investment in training, and R&D efforts, to receive the SME100 Awards.

Among the award recipients are architectural firm ARCHIPEDIA PTE LTD (AK+), retailer MTHAI (S) PTE LTD, as well as startups Singapore Facilitists Pte Ltd and Wellaholic Pte Ltd.

The SME100 Awards have been held annually in Malaysia since 2009 and Singapore since 2015. The Awards also debuted in Indonesia this year, while Vietnam will be the fourth country with the survey currently being deployed across the country.

TECHNOLOGICAL DISRUPTION A MAJOR CONCERN FOR SMES

SMEs participating in the survey are both optimistic and cautious over the rapid pace of technological development and greater regional economic integration.

“Many SMEs continue to feel the heat from both technology-based disruptors in their industry and from regional competitors who are adopting technology to outpace them in the market. Almost every SME surveyed realises the importance of a digital strategy, but many do not have the resources or the capability to implement one. The Singaporean government has invested substantial time and money into helping SMEs in this aspect, but the adoption rate is far slower than ideal”, said Ng.

“SMEs here see the potential in being part of a larger economic community. This is less about the business regulations and tariff than it is about of the ‘softening’ of the regional markets due to greater awareness regionally for AEC. At the same time, many SMEs are concerned about the increased competition, and the associated risks of regionalisation”, Ng added.

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