Guide to Incentives for Food Industry in Singapore
The island state of Singapore boasts of a vibrant Food and Beverage (F&B) sector which constitutes more than 4,500 establishments and employs more than 70,000 staff. Needless to say that this is a crucial element of the economy which actively promotes the travel and tourism industry. Singapore has a vast variety of F&B establishments to suit every pocket and palate.
As part of establishing the city-state as the gastronomic capital in the region by 2010, the government of Singapore and the agencies governing the food industry are keen on promoting a flourishing industry where the spirit of innovation, process, and safety standards are constantly improved while the quality of service exhilarates the customers. Several programmes and assistance schemes have been rolled out to help the F&B sector to develop their business and profitability.
F&B Sector Innovation Incentives
SPRING Singapore has set aside S$12 million under Capability Development Programme (CDP) launched in March 2007 to enhance the capabilities of local F&B enterprises over the next 3 years. This programme aims to develop innovative F&B concepts by helping SMEs in this sector to develop their capabilities and raise their Service and efficiency levels. Innovation is the key to success and constant improvements redefines the food business and strikes a niche. Innovation projects,
Process improvement projects, Food Safety Projects and Service projects of the SMEs will gain assistance from this programme. The establishment will qualify as an SME, if at least 30% of the shares are held locally, fixed asset does not exceed $ 15 million and in case of a non-manufacturing establishment the employee head count is not more than 200. The Programme funds up to 50% of the F&B project cost.
F&B Sector Service Incentives
Service Quality is assuming paramount importance across all industries and service level at F&B establishment is the key to thrill and sustain the customer base. This will eventually impact the reputation of the country by the image projected among the tourists and business delegates. Also Singapore is graduating into the convention hub of Asia staging many important conventions and exhibitions.
With Hong Kong and Sydney on its heels, it strives by improving all facets of a visitors’ experience including F&B sector. Therefore improving the service quality is imperative, hence the Go the Extra Mile for Services (GEMS), a nationwide movement to improve the service levels, was launched. Customer Centric Initiative (CCI) scheme was initiated by SPRING in collaboration with few other agencies, targeting the F&B segment as part of GEMS. Launched in June 2007 it aims to help businesses enhance their service quality and benchmark themselves against Industry Standards. Fund is granted after careful appraisal of businesses on a case by case basis and could fund up to 50% of the project cost.
SPRING along with Restaurants Association of Singapore is developing service standards for various types of establishments. This enables the establishment to identify service gaps to be rectified so that they can be benchmarked against the service standards.
Food Safety Incentives
As part of the vision to establish the city state as the gastronomic capital of the region, the governing bodies have realized the significance of Food Safety. National Environment agency (NEA) stipulates stringent quality, safety and hygiene standards for the F&B outlets as well as all imports, the means by which 90% of the national consumption is met.
It is essential to adopt world class standards, in order to achieve the vision set. Therefore, it pays to coax the establishments implement Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) an international Food safety standard which was originally adopted by food manufacturers, and now being widely followed among F&B outlets in America, Australia, China and the Middle East. The Programme funds up to 50% of the costs arising from the implementation of international food safety standards and every project approved must be completed within 2 years. This will prove beneficial to establishments that wish to expand to overseas markets that are keen on food safety standards. In the present globalised scenario it is vital to match the international standards.
F&B Sector Workforce Development Incentives
Apart from the programmes and schemes from which the businesses can directly benefit they can also take advantage of the outcomes of Local Enterprises and Association Development (LEAD) programme aimed at the associations in F&B industry. Restaurant Association of Singapore (RAS) has received support under LEAD to launch project that will benefit the industry as a whole. RAS has initiated projects aimed at building a skilled and professional F&B workforce, developing market intelligence and resources for the F&B sector, and developing the capabilities of F&B businesses.
Personnel is the critical element in the service industry, it is especially so in the F&B industry where they are the key interface with the customers influencing every aspect of the service. It is fundamental to invest in their skills development and the Government shoulders the responsibility of the management by providing workforce development grants through schemes such as CRAFT For Chefs (CRAFT), F&B Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ), WSQ Certificate in F&B Service, WSQ Culinary Scholarships etc. These schemes subsidizes the course fee by offering grants ranging from 50 -90%.
Singapore – Food Capital of Asia
It has been estimated that on an average, F&B accounts for approximately 14 per cent of the expenditure of tourists while in Singapore. The government is also taking a multitude of efforts to promote its reputation as the gastronomical capital of Asia and promoting Gastronomy tours to Singapore from around the world, through events such as Singapore Food Festival, a culinary celebration in which establishments from hawker stalls to fine dining restaurants participate. Singapore Tourism Board spends a huge sum to promote this event globally, the success of which is evident from the surge in the tourist influx during that time of the year. A similar event, which puts the industry in the limelight, is the World Gourmet Summit (WGS), an annual premium culinary event organized by the Singapore Tourism Board. It brings together world-renowned chefs and the best local talents to showcase their gastronomical creations to both trade and public visitors.
A deserving business is well encouraged by the government and the relevant agencies and associations. Therefore, apart from the industry specific programmes enterprising individuals and businesses keen on setting their foundations strong or taking the next big step can also apply for grants, loans and other types of assistance from Funds such as SEEDS, Micro Loan and ComCare Enterprise Fund etc that are open to all businesses.