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Speech Pointers by Mrs Josephine Teo, Senior Minister of State for Finance and Transport, at the Federation of Merchants' Associations Singapore (FMAS) Singapore Heartland Enterprise Star Award 2014 (SHESA) Book Launch

03 Nov 2014
Date: 03 November 2014
Venue: Singapore Press Holdings
Speaker: Mrs Josephine Teo
1. Significance of heartland enterprises in Singapore
Heartland enterprises are like the soul of a neighbourhood, bringing character and vitality to our heartland areas. (企业可以说是一个邻里的灵魂,而每个邻里都需要有充满活力和具有特色的企业。)  

2.  Challenges faced by micro-retailers
Micro-retailers (MRs) face the following challenges, which could also be applicable to micro businesses in general.

• Increasing competition
      - From larger and more innovative retailers with wider product offerings and technologies to better engage and market to both current and new customers

• Changing consumer patterns and lifestyles 
      - With the increased popularity of online shopping, MRs who fail to upgrade in tandem with consumers’ shopping behaviour may be left behind

• Lacking economies of scale 
      - Due to their relative small sizes and market demand, many MRs lack the scale to buy in bulk, and are hence unable to enjoy the economies of scale in procurement

• Managing manpower issues 
      - Lack of successors and succession planning
      - May result in the organic consolidation of the micro retail landscape in the next few years, as older shop owners retire and exit while newer concepts take over
3. SPRING’s Assistance to Help Micro Businesses Increase Productivity 
Recognising the relatively small scale of operations and limited resources among the micro businesses, SPRING, in consultation with HDB and FMAS, developed two Integrated Solutions to address the challenges among micro businesses: 

• Point-of-Sales (POS) system 
      - To automate sales and the inventory tracking processes
• Product Display & Store Layout (PDSL) solution 
      - To optimise the overall shop layout and improve visual merchandising 
Both Integrated Solutions are supported under the Innovation & Capability Voucher (ICV) by SPRING. To date, 210 and 64 companies have successfully tapped POS and PDSL solutions respectively.
As part of the government’s ongoing efforts to promote inclusive growth across industries, FMAS will be a key partner in reaching out to smaller heartland businesses. I am heartened to know that together with the SME Centres, FMAS will continue to work with the micro businesses to uplift their productivity and competitiveness to create vibrant neighbourhood centres in Singapore.