How Industry Transformation Maps Can Help SMEs

Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs) were launched by the Singaporean Government in 2016 with the purpose of enabling companies, particularly SMEs, to stay ahead of the curve and navigate the evolving business environment. Budget 2019 has revealed that after the implementation of ITMs, productivity (real value-added per hour worked) has increased by 3.6% in the past years, which is higher than the 1.6% annual productivity growth from 2012 to 2015. With 99% of the 200,000 enterprises in Singapore being made up of startups and SMEs (198,000 enterprises), the Government hopes that the ITMs will guide the growth of SMEs in this digital age.

What are ITMs?

ITMs are frameworks set in place by the Future Economy Council (FEC) to bring together industry stakeholders to implement transformation roadmaps for the 23 industries in Singapore. ITMs aim to address issues within each industry and deepen partnerships between stakeholders such as the Government, trade associations and chambers (TAC), economic agencies, firms, etc.

FEC’s vision is to integrate 4 key transformation strategies into each of the 23 industries in Singapore:

  1. Building enterprise capabilities: To increase SMEs’ adoption of digitalisation by connecting them with partners (such as IMDA, banks and telecommunications providers) that will help upgrade their digital capabilities. SMEs can also utilise the available self-help tools, easy-to-adopt solutions and grants. Selected enterprises will be nurtured under the Scale-up SG programme to help them become potential industry leaders through customised guidance by public and private sector partners
  2. Developing human capital: To strengthen the pool of leaders and grow the talent pipeline for Singapore enterprises (through providing grants for internships, etc.). To provide support for employer-led training to ensure that workers are equipped with skills needed for new or redesigned jobs
  3. Enhancing enterprise ecosystems: To strengthen enterprise ecosystem within industries, inter-enterprise, cross-industry and in the area of innovations. FEC is currently working with Governmental agencies to make the regulatory and compliance landscape more business-friendly.
  4. Establishing strong networks and partnerships: To expand SME centre networks to include overseas nodes, form strategic partnerships and expand in-market partner networks to facilitate market entry.

How will ITMs help grow your business?

Each ITM was crafted after deep research into the industry’s landscape, future trends and needs. It is dynamic and will be tweaked over time to ensure that it’ll continuously help raise productivity, skillsets, innovation and promotion of internationalisation. As it’s a roadmap of growth for businesses in each industry, it is essential for your SME to understand the ITMs to tap on the opportunities that the government is providing (such as grants, capabilities and other types of support). In this rapidly evolving digital age, many businesses that do not change with the times will eventually phase out.

These ITMs are carried out in conjunction with strong partners and each industry will have a lead agency heading the transformation. For your convenience, we have included a table below detailing the 6 clusters, 23 industries, their relevant lead agencies and hyperlinks to the ITMs of each industry:

Cluster Industry Lead Agency
Manufacturing 1. Energy & Chemicals EDB
2. Precision Engineering
3. Marine & Offshore
4. Aerospace
5. Electronics
Built Environment 6. Construction (Incl. Archi & Engineering) BCA
7. Real Estate CEA
8. Environmental Services (previously termed as Cleaning) NEA
9. Security MHA
Trade & Connectivity 10. Logistics EDB
11. Air Transport CAAS
12. Sea Transport MPA
13. Land Transport (Incl. Public Transport) LTA
14. Wholesale Trade IES
Essential Domestic Services 15. Healthcare MOH
16. Education (Early Childhood & Private Education) MOE
Modern Services 17. Professional Services EDB
18. ICT and Media MCI
19. Financial Services MAS
Lifestyle 20. Food Services ENTERPRISE SINGAPORE
21. Retail ENTERPRISE SINGAPORE
22. Hotels STB
23. Food Manufacturing ENTERPRISE SINGAPORE


What should your SME do next?

The adoption of these technologies may be costly and many SMEs may face difficulties in obtaining loans at traditional financial institutions often due to their limited credit history and collateral. If you are facing similar struggles, it will be beneficial to look into P2P loans which are a form of debt crowdfunding. It allows investors to directly fund borrowers’ loans through an online platform to earn interest in return. This is incredibly beneficial for SMEs as the process is quick, easy and does not require collateral. A good place to look into is Funding Societies which is the largest P2P platform in SouthEast Asia and is licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). It offers flexible, short-term and customisable business loans to meet your financing needs. You can find out more on P2P loans at Funding Societies from  “Peer-to-Peer Loans and Why You Should Consider Them”.


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