Preparing SMEs for the future

Preparing SMEs for the future

How long does it take for an SME to develop an industry-worthy solution?

According to Chew Ker Yee- managing vice-president of local precision engineering firm Wangi Engineering- it takes time for an SME to fully understand market sentiments on new industry solutions.

With this in mind- A*STAR announced an enhanced Headstart programme- where local SMEs can enjoy royalty-free and exclusive licences up to 36 months for industry solutions co-developed with A*STAR.

The Headstart extension- which is set to take effect following the recent Budget announcements- will provide companies more time and confidence to try out new solutions that fit market demand.

Benefitting from an earlier version of Headstart and by adopting A*STAR’s technology- Wangi Engineering could develop an anti-reflective glass via nanoimprinting for applications beyond its product line.

Meanwhile- LHT Limited- an established Singaporean timber company- partnered with A*STAR to develop a smart monitoring system that calculates production demand for pallets based on customer order patterns.

The man behind the system- Ao Yintai- is a senior engineer from A*STAR Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech). Yintai was seconded to LHT Limited under A*STAR’s Technology for Enterprise Capability Upgrading (T-Up) programme.

In the T-Up programme- A*STAR’s research scientists and engineers are seconded to companies to help them build up R&D capabilities- such as developing new and innovative solutions for the marketplace- set up technical departments and have access to R&D talents.

Another participating company- LDR Pte Ltd- has even hired their seconded researcher from A*STAR- Ling Yii Leong- after the programme ended. Yii Leong developed an app for LDR that allows users to publish their own location-based interactive trails and currently heads the company’s IT and R&D department.

Besides the Headstart and T-Up programmes- A*STAR also offers other initiatives to help SMEs kick-start their innovation efforts.

One such initiative is the Operation and Technology Roadmapping (OTR) programme- which helps businesses develop a technology roadmap aligned with their business goals that would enable them to enhance their competitiveness.

The enhanced version of OTR will see A*STAR scaling up efforts to help companies identify technological solutions- with the goal to build capacity to support 400 companies over the next four years.