Boosting Enterprise Innovation in Singapore
SPRING Singapore (SPRING) is an agency under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, responsible for helping Singapore enterprises grow and building trust in Singapore products and services. As the enterprise development agency, SPRING works with partners to help enterprises in financing, capability and management development, technology and innovation, and access to markets.
Launched in June 2012, the Innovation & Capability Voucher (ICV) scheme aims to support SMEs taking their early steps in innovation and capability development efforts. The S$5,000 voucher can be used to offset consultancy costs from the engagement of pre-approved service providers in four core business capabilities areas – innovation, productivity, human resource development and financial management – to diagnose their capability gaps, upgrade processes, conduct feasibility studies, and develop new products or services.
SPRING was keen to conduct a study to assess the impact and effectiveness of the ICV programme, to identify feasible recommendations for review in the ICV’s Programme Policies; Programme Processes; Communications to stakeholders; Scope and coverage of services; and Existing expertise and quality of projects.
Eden was commissioned to conduct this review, with a position that a thorough review needs to evaluate the ICV Programme’s (i) Policy intent and position vis-à-vis alternative funding sources; (ii) Efficacy of the programme evaluation, monitoring, and disbursement process; (iii) Effectiveness of the outreach process to micro-enterprises at large; (iv) Perceptions, outputs, and outcomes among micro-enterprises that have benefited from the ICV; and (v) Impact on the scope and quality of the Consultants involved.
Based on these principles, we deployed a blended analytical methodology that included a scan of Singapore’s enterprise funding landscape; a review that identified bottlenecks, efficiency improvement areas, and user pain-points in the operational process; focus group discussions with the consulting provider population to understand their aspirations and challenges; quantitative surveys to gauge the effectiveness outreach efforts; as well as in-depth interviews and ethnographic interviews with SMEs in 10 sectors to establish their perceptions, outputs, and outcomes.
As a result of the engagement, Eden developed a set of strategic recommendations with SPRING Singapore on the ideal scope for ICV, success cases, and areas of possible refinement in the short, medium, and long-term to help improve innovation levels among SMEs in Singapore. Some of these included changes to the programme structure, initiatives to offer better support to both SMEs and the service providers, as well as industry development initiatives.
“The Capabilities Development Division in SPRING Singapore engaged Eden Strategy Institute for a strategy review for one of our key initiatives in 2014. The experience working with the Eden team was very pleasant as they were expeditious in handling our requirements while ensuring that quality work was delivered. During their engagements with us, we found the team professional, and always prepared to help us clarify our questions. They were even prepared to go out of their appointed job scope to help us source for more information so as to better meet our project objectives. We would gladly consider Eden Strategy Institute for future projects.”
Ms Samantha Su
Director, Capabilities Development Division, Capabilities and Partnership Group
- SPRING Singapore