50 new exporters stand to receive S$10,000 grants

KUCHING: The pieces are falling into place for Sarawak to prime up to 50 new “local success stories” amidst budding exporters, who stand to receive grants of up to SG$10,000 to fast-track home-grown goods and services into the Asian region via the economic gateway of Singapore.

As the catalyst for this bold goal, the Sarawak Trade & Tourism Office Sarawak (Statos) is launching the Promotion Assistance Scheme (PASS), a Sarawak government incentive which offers ‘equal basis matching grants’ on a reimbursement basis to help export-ready companies to cover costs of their strategic branding, promotion and marketing activities.

“The Scheme awards up to S$10,000 to qualifying Sarawak-based exporters, per company, per year. These grants will assist exporters to get their products and services into Singapore, from labelling and packaging to advertising and promotional events,” said Statos chairman Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohamad Morshidi Abdul Ghani.

“Statos surveys reveal that local entrepreneurs may lack knowledge on both overseas opportunities, and how to penetrate those markets.

“The PASS incentive will aid entrepreneurs to ‘break the ice’ when penetrating Singapore’s market, and henceforth build confidence and experience in SMEs to independently pursue new business,” he said.

With full backing from the Sarawak government, Statos has become the region’s premier communication hub between business communities in Sarawak and Singapore and a significant economic driver.

“Statos aims to generate new exports; yet more importantly, such exports drive long-term development of new foreign direct investment (FDI) and economic sustainability.

“Sarawak small and medium enterprises (SMEs) need to create a stronger global identity by exporting Sarawak’s unique products to Asian nations even during this pandemic, and what better way to start than with Singapore, one of the world’s most vibrant economies?’’ said Morshidi.

Earlier in October, the Chief Minister of Sarawak urged entrepreneurs being groomed by the Ministry of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development to break into international export markets by making full use of Statos’ services.

Statos chief executive officer Chew Chang Guan emphasised the importance for Sarawak potential exporters and exporters to make their presence in Singapore with excellent brand stories, eye-catching packaging, professional presentation and high levels of quality as well as product certifications in line with Singapore regulations.

“Statos wants to work with registered businesses with export-ready items who need help with costs of advertising, packaging, labelling, product demonstrations, food fairs, or product development for the Singaporean market,” said Chew.

“With PASS, Statos will match every dollar invested by qualified Sarawak entrepreneurs into promotional activities of up to a maximum of S$10,000 a year.

“To apply, applicants must register with Statos by email and attach their companies’ profiles and export marketing plans, at least three months before their event or activity,” he said.

Chew remarked that since less than 10% of Singapore’s nutritional food is produced locally, food security has been catapulted to one of Singapore’s top national priorities, resulting in a search for viable overseas partners in Sarawak.

“Sarawak can be a prime alternative source of food supplies to fill for Singapore. Fresh fruits, vegetables, poultry, eggs, pork and seafoods are in high demand in Singapore, which imports a huge volume of goods from all over the world,” said Chew.

To apply for PASS grants, or to get advice and assistance on exporting to Singapore, applicants should contact Statos at kenny.lau@statos.com.sg or login to www.statos.com.sg/trade/.

As of August this year, Sarawak is ranked among Malaysia’s top five exporters at RM4.7 billion or 5.9% of the nation’s total export value of RM79.1 billion, according to the Department of Statistics Malaysia.