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     Survey shows manpower issues a growing concern for SMEs

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Singapore SMEs appear divided over the adoption of technology as a means of driving business growth and maintaining competitiveness. Fifty-three percent (53%) of respondents believed that investments in Innovation & Technology has increased their productivity, with 37% experiencing increased cost efficiency as a direct result of innovation and technology adoption. However, a significant 32% believe technology has no impact at all on their business.

The majority (85%) of the companies that see no benefit in new technology tend to be the smaller SMEs employing fewer than 25 people. Sixty-two percent (62%) of SMEs were open but unsure of how to strengthen their technological capabilities. On a positive note, of the companies that have adopted new technology and enjoyed its benefits, 92% plan to make further technology investments in the next two years.


SMEs are still showing a strong reliance on Overdrafts (40%) although this has fallen from 47% in 2004 and 44% in 2005. Utilisation of Long Term Loans has been steadily increased from 26% in 2004 and 29% in 2005, to 34% in 2006. A similar steady upward trend in the use of Short Term Loans has also been observed, from 21% in 2004 and 25% in 2005 to 27% this year. Trade Financing is the third favoured option at 32%. There is a continued increase in SME using a mix of short and long term financing options, reflecting better financing options that banks are currently offering to the SME market segment.

Fifty-one percent (51%) would like to see a shift towards non-collateral based financing like the MicroLoan. Industry-specific financing schemes are also favoured by 48% of SMEs, and 37% see the adoption of SME Credit Ratings as a tool to access better funding. Twenty-five percent (25%) have suggested a SME-centric financial institution would best serve their needs.

The number of SMEs with No Banking/Funding Facilities is up from 19% in 2005 to 38% in 2006. This may be attributed to an 11% representation of Start-ups in the respondent demographics this year. Start-ups (defined as SMEs with fewer than 3 years of operation) will find it difficult to gain access to traditional bank financing options as banks lend according to the SMEs' ability to pay coupled with a track record.


DP Info has made 6 recommendations in the following areas, including:-

  - Assisting SMEs in the area of manpower issues;
  - Helping the SMEs to have better access to government tenders and quotations;
  - Putting more focus on Start-Ups to help them gain experience through mentoring and regional exposure as well as facilitating access to other sources of funding;
  - Supporting SMEs to leverage new technology or innovations to address their cost efficiency and productivity issues;
  - Leveraging more on FTAs; and
  - Providing more innovative financing solutions to SMEs through the adoption of SME Credit Ratings.

(NB: Details of the recommendations are contained in the full report)


In support of the SME community and their growing call for the use of credit ratings to assist them in securing financing, being more transparent and facilitating overseas business, DP Info has taken the first step in a nationwide SME credit ratings initiative. It is DP Info's intention to help SMEs, banks, potential financiers and business partners connect by gaining rapid access to a globally recognised credit rating# of SMEs.

Available through, over 10,000 names of SMEs that have been privately rated by DP Info over the past few years will be listed initially. SMEs prelisted may obtain their credit rating from DP Info for FREE* until 30 September 2006. In addition, SMEs that are not listed as yet and would like to get a FREE* credit rating of their company may get in touch with DP Info via the website. Additionally, SMEs may also opt for their credit rating grade to be published publicly on the website for FREE for a period of 12 months. The better credit rated SMEs may choose this as a method to distinguish themselves from the larger group of 100,000 SMEs in Singapore. Twenty percent (20%) of SMEs are in the DP1-DP4 (Investment Grade) category.

Ms Chen Yew Nah said, "The nationwide SME Credit Ratings website is a major step forward in improving the level of transparency among Singapore SMEs. Interested SMEs may go online and check if they are prelisted."

"Credit ratings allow SMEs to demonstrate their financial standing without having to reveal sensitive information. They are an invaluable tool when meeting new suppliers, customers or business partners or expanding into new markets. They also assist SMEs in obtaining financing through banks and other lending institutions' banks are always on the lookout for alternative ways to engage SMEs of different credit profiles," Ms Chen emphasized.

# Credit rated using DP Info's DP Credit Rating Approach (see appendix 1)

*Terms & Conditions Apply: FREE until 30 September 2006 and when SME submits their latest full audited financials to be credit rated and to participate in 2007 Singapore 1000 & SME 500 rankings.

@ A full and detailed credit report on the rated companies is also available for a fee.



DP Information Group (DP Info) is Singapore's leading credit and business information bureau. A veteran of 28 years, we currently service 95% of Singapore's financial institutions and some 75% of leading law firms. Through our 24/7 online information portal, QuestNet, we enable our clients to make confident credit management decisions everyday based on comprehensive, accurate and reliable information.

DP Info Group is a partner with leading international scoring and ratings agencies such as Moody's| K.M.V and Fair Isaac, providing corporate and consumer credit management solutions for the national credit risk management markets.

DP Info is a strong advocate for the SME and entrepreneurial segment, managing and operating an ACRA-appointed service bureau, DP Bureau, which assists SMEs and entrepreneurs in starting their business and operating them effectively and efficiently through their initial years.

Information Services

  • Corporate / Individual Information & Litigation Searches

  • Industry Research & Survey Management

  • Singapore 1000 & SME 500, Singapore International 100 & Fastest Growing 50 Rankings & Certification

  • Marketing Lists & Campaign Management

  • Credit, Legal & Market Monitoring

Credit Management Services

  • Corporate Credit Rating & Consumer Scoring

  • Corporate & Consumer Credit Bureau

  • Debt Recovery & Account Receivables Management & Training

  • Credit Portfolio Analysis & Consultancy

SME Bureau & Advisory Services

  • Registration & Filing of Local & Foreign Companies/Business

  • SME Regulatory / Application / Business Services

  • SME Advisory Services

  • MOF Appointed Bureau for Government Supplier Registration Services

DP Information Network Pte Ltd is an ISO/IEC 27001 Information Security & Data Management certified company. Certification No. GB06/68548



Guide to DP Credit Rating


DP Credit Rating Expected Default Frequency Explanation Status
DP-1 <0.1% Possess extremely strong financial fundamental with high incentive and capability for repayment of obligations. Premium
DP-2 0.1% - <0.2% Has strong financial health with above average capability for meeting payments. Premium
DP-3 0.2% - <0.4% Stable financial health and above normal operational environment. General unfavourable factors are not likely to cause distress. Strong
DP-4 0.4% - <1.0% Overall financial health and operation are considered normal. Capable of meeting its commitments. May be susceptible to difficulties in the event of drastic changes in economic conditions. Strong
DP-5 1.0% - <3.0% Adequate financial capabilities to meet normal commitments. However, adverse changes in economic condition could lead to doubtfulness in the ability to pay. Moderate
DP-6 3.0% - <8.0% Sufficiently sound financial ability to meet normal obligations. Capabilities in reacting to adverse operational condition are limited or consider doubtful. Moderate
DP-7 8% - <14.0% Weakness in financial ability is apparent. Vulnerable to unfavourable changes in the economic and operational environment and is likely to fall into a weakened financial condition. Monitor
DP-8 14.0% - <20% Apparent weakness in financial health with limited capability to meet its obligations especially in the event of any adverse changes in operating environment. Monitor

*DP 1 to DP 4 is comparable to 'Investment Grade' rated securities, and DP 5 to DP 6 is comparable to 'High Yield' rated securities, and DP 7 to DP8 is comparable to 'High Risk' rated securities.


Source: Press Release 21 Aug 2006