The Innovation and Capability Voucher (ICV) is given to small and medium sized enterprises also known as SMEs to help them to establish their operations. The amount that is awarded is $5000 which gives them enough to increase the competence of the enterprise through upgrades. The areas that are covered for the upgrade are productivity and human resources as well as financial management. As a replacement of the Innovation voucher scheme the ICV however still the technological benefits such as development services.
These vouchers need to be applied for through service providers who support the ICV scheme who can be found on the SPRING website on the ICV segment. One can apply for two vouchers to cover the innovation and capability which is supported by the ICV. There are also other programs that are available for the SMEs to seek out for assistance. It is mandatory for an enterprise to complete a project that covers the sectors that the ICV covers once the vouchers are used up to be able to apply for another one.
There is an online portal through which SMEs are able to apply for the ICV through a process that takes two days. There is an email notification that is sent out to successful applicants even though a report needs to be put forward to the standards. Productivity and innovation Board(SPRING) on conclusion of the project which was funded by the ICV.
Certain requirements need to be met by a local enterprise in order to be qualified to apply for the ICV. In the first instance they have to be locally registered as residents of Singapore with a minimum of 30% of local shares. The size of the enterprise needs to fit the characteristics of an SME going by the annual sales which should not exceed $100 million and with not more than 200 employees.
There are those areas that are covered by the ICV and these include Innovation which is a segment under the ICV. This covers technological development, technological assistance and includes aid in business design. The upgrading of the company’s products, goods and operations are covered by the ICV.
Productivity is also covered by the ICV and it encompasses the implementation and achievement of the ISO 9001 and HACCP software. Aid and assistance in productivity management and aid is also provided to help the enterprise head for service distinction. This covers classifying chance for enhancement and expected results in productivity and resource needs as well. It also seeks to go over the main points on findings and future steps to maintain improvement. Setting improvement targets such as sales per staff and ability of staff to answer customer enquiries thus deliver great service is also looked into.
Human resources are another segment that is supported by the ICV and this features services in the planning of manpower and recruitment. Career management as well as learning and development aid pertaining to employees is also covered. It seeks to upgrade the SME’s pool of human resources.
It aims at conducting an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the company before the start of the project. This is a good avenue to be able to offer advice on areas that need to be addressed before the project begins to ensure a successful take off of the same.
Yet another supported segment by the ICV is financial management which covers services for financial planning such as budgets and capital management. Included also are financial controls that can be implemented by the SMEs.
Once you are done with the application for ICV it is important that you make sure that the project is listed among the supported services and scope of projects. This will involve contacting the service provider to talk about your selected service before reaching an agreement to engage their services. All this needs to be done before you can submit the ICV application online.
The ICV targets offering help to SMEs to be able to improve productivity in the long run. By offering consultancy services the government seeks to reach out to the enterprises that are not yet aware of the ICV to facilitate growth in their business.