Singapore allocates $74m for SME co-investments in 2019 budget

Singapore. Photo by cegoh/pixabay

The Singapore government will set aside $74 million (S$100 million) for investments in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) under its SME Co-Investment Fund III, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced on Monday.

Delivering the city-state’s budget for 2019, the minister said the fund will co-invest in startups to help them scale and internationalise. Temasek Holdings will be a co-investor in the fund, which will be managed by Heliconia Capital Management.

Qualifying companies are required to have their key management functions and headquarters based in Singapore and have revenues of up to $368.4 million (S$500 million).

SME Co-Investment Fund III is the third edition of this fund, which focuses on providing patient growth capital for Singapore-based SMEs.

“Having smart, patient capital that attracts investors with the expertise and the right time horizon is another way to help firms scale-up. Over the past few years, the Government has worked on improving access to private capital for start-ups and SMEs,” Heng said.

The SME Co-Investment Programme (CIP) was first launched in 2010, comprising the SME Catalyst Fund and SME Co-Investment Fund. In 2014, the government launched SME Co-Investment Fund II (CIF 2) and SME Mezzanine Growth Fund (MF).

Since the fund’s 2010 launch, the government has set aside $295 million (S$400 million) for these funds. Singapore claims that the funds have helped catalyse $1 billion (S$1.3 billion) in funding for the country’s SMEs across industries such as services and manufacturing.

Last November, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) also simplified the regulatory regime for venture capital managers, launching a $5-billion private markets programme aimed at encouraging global PE players to deepen their presence in the country.

Singapore’s venture capital ecosystem has been growing significantly since. Heng noted that Singapore recorded 220 venture capital deals per year worth close to $4.2 billion. This is a significant jump from just 80 deals worth $136 million in 2012. He added that there are over 150 global venture capital funds, incubators and accelerators based in Singapore, supporting startups based locally and across the region.

Other SME/startup announcements:

  • SME Working Capital Loan: To be extended by two years to 31 March 2021
  • Scale-up SG: Helps startups scale by partnering them with private and public sectors
  • Innovation Agents Programme: Two-year pilot project that matches companies to industry experts for mentorship

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.