SPRING Singapore
Features | Trade, Industry, Finance

Helping To Build Resilient
And Innovative Enterprises

SPRING Singapore engages startups and small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) to help them grow, and in doing so, contributes to the healthy growth of the Singapore economy.

In Singapore, SMEs comprise 99 per cent of all enterprises and are thus a vital part of the economy. They employ seven out of every 10 workers and make up nearly half of Singapore’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

As a statutory board under the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), SPRING Singapore works with industry partners to help SMEs in financing, capability and management development, technology and innovation growth, and market access. SPRING helps to cultivate competitive SMEs by developing a supportive environment for them to upgrade their capabilities and seize growth opportunities.

To do so, SPRING needs people with the talent and drive to help advance this mission. SPRING Executive Development Scholarship (EDS) holders Amanda Dizon, Manager, Consumer Product Safety and Weights and Measures Division in the Quality and Excellence Group and Eugene Eu, Head, Business Capabilities Division in the Capabilities and Partnership Group tell us about the opportunities they have enjoyed with SPRING and their passion to help Singapore enterprises grow.

A passion for entrepreneurship

Amanda was attracted to the SPRING EDS as the organisation’s mission aligned with her interests in helping local enterprises improve their business processes. She explains, “SMEs employ a large proportion of the workforce, so helping them grow and improve means helping to better the lives of fellow Singaporeans. I find great meaning in this as I’ve always wanted to have a career in the Public Service and give back to the nation!”

Amanda Dizon
SPRING EDS Scholar

Designation: Manager, (Consumer Product Safety
and Weights and Measures Division),
Quality and Excellence Group,
SPRING Singapore

Studied: Bachelor of Social Sciences
(Political Science),
Second Major in Management,
National University of Singapore

"A career in enterprise development was the obvious choice to marry my interests in public and private sector management"

She also appreciates the fact that the SPRING EDS is open to mid-term applicants like herself, given that she only applied for the scholarship during her third year at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and had greater clarity on her career directions. “A career in enterprise development was the obvious choice to marry my interests in public and private sector management,” Amanda adds.

Like Amanda, Eugene's interest in enterprise development was established during his undergraduate days. He recalls, “I was fascinated by how creative ideas could be transformed into viable businesses. With SPRING, I am able to assist aspiring entrepreneurs in expanding their ideas and growing their startups into successful businesses.

“And although I initially wasn’t keen on applying for a scholarship, I gradually learned more about the SPRING EDS and realised its perfect alignment with my interests. Working in SPRING has indeed allowed me to learn about business operations and network with the business community!”

Helping local businesses thrive

Eugene is now in a great position to do so as Head of the Capabilities Promotion Division, where he leads a team to conduct outreach and forge partnerships to build capabilities within SMEs. He elaborates, “I started my journey with SPRING in the Industry Development Group, where we assisted local enterprises in the food industry. We worked closely with business leaders and I was involved in the development of sectoral programmes and industry plans. I also organised and participated in overseas study trips to countries like Japan, Korea and the Netherlands.”

Eugene even had the developmental opportunity to help grow a company from within when he was seconded to a local enterprise dealing in manufacturing blends for chocolate, confectionary and dairy products. He enthuses, “It was very refreshing to be part of the company proper as opposed to managing its account. The experience definitely broadened my perspective and helped me better understand the importance for enterprises to be competitive, innovative and resilient.”

Amanda shares Eugene's sentiments. Within the Consumer Product Safety and Weights and Measures Division, her priority is to keep abreast of product safety issues and trends. Her role falls under the Quality and Excellence Group, which develops and promotes internationally recognised standards and quality assurance infrastructure. These efforts help to enhance enterprise competitiveness, facilitate trades and build trust in Singapore’s products and services. She elaborates, “In order to have safe consumer goods in the market, we need to ensure that our regulations and action plans stay relevant. In this way, suppliers will emphasise safety as a key focus for their business so as to remain competitive.

“To do so, I track relevant current affairs and news, conduct post-market surveillance and develop and promote educational materials targeted at both consumers and suppliers. I also handle first-hand feedback on product-related incidents from the public.

“At SPRING, we are always looking for new ways to engage and educate consumers, and at the same time informing suppliers of their responsibility to comply with regulations and supply safer goods. One way is by networking regularly with industry leaders and leading regulators – for example, SPRING regularly attends the International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization (ICPHSO) International Symposium, which is also attended by product safety stakeholders such as companies, testing laboratories, non-profit safety organisations and regulators from all over the world. Experiences like these help us apply relevant best practices to our work,” Amanda adds.

Growing alongside local enterprises

SPRING EDS scholars can expect to receive exposure opportunities early on in their scholarship journey and career with SPRING, starting from their university days. Amanda shares, “The highlight of my mid-term scholarship was my 10-week internship with the Business and Service Excellence (BSE) Division in SPRING. I had the chance to work independently to lay the groundwork for a study on the impact of business excellence on company performance.

Eugene Eu Zhen An
SPRING EDS Scholar

Designation: Head (Capabilities Promotion Division),
Capabilities and Partnership Group
SPRING Singapore

Studied: Bachelor of Accountancy,
Nanyang Technological University

“During the internship, I was fortunate to enjoy the mentorship and guidance of my colleagues, whose experience in this area proved invaluable. I left my internship more convinced than ever that I could make a mark on the local enterprise landscape through a career with SPRING.” Amanda adds that she is currently exploring a formal rotation to the BSE division to deepen her knowledge on driving business excellence for SMEs.

On Eugene’s part, he recalls how his internship helped him better understand SPRING’s mission and prepare him for his career with the organisation. He tells us, “I was exposed to the concept of partner management and shadowed SPRING colleagues at meetings. I observed and learnt how they interacted with SMEs, such as getting their buy-in to embark on productivity projects, discussing industry trends and helping companies to scope projects to build capabilities.”

Looking ahead

With so much to look forward to at SPRING, it’s little wonder that both Amanda and Eugene are eager to encourage students with the passion and drive for enterprise development to seriously consider the SPRING EDS. Amanda shares, “I like to keep the SPRING Core values of E.N.T.P. (Enterprising, Nurturing, Teamplayer and Professional) at heart and embody them in my thoughts and actions at work.

Eugene hopes to help forge a bright future for Singapore’s SMEs. He says earnestly, “I hope to foster more resilient, growth-oriented and internationally competitive businesses which can adapt and respond to the constantly changing business environment. This will definitely expand Singapore’s brand name overseas!”

He concludes, “Aspiring scholars should be passionate, resilient, driven and possess strong interpersonal skills. SPRING operates in a challenging environment where enterprises are looking to us to lead them in building their capabilities, helping them become more productive and competitive. Hence, the ability to communicate and interact with enterprises will be key. If you are outgoing and have a strong interest in business, the SPRING EDS is the scholarship for you!”