Singapore’s Info-communications Media Development Authority will lead a new $80m scheme to support small businesses to use digital technologies, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced in today’s Budget 2017.

The scheme will provide advice on which technologies businesses should use at different stages of their growth. It will start with sectors where “digital technology can significantly improve productivity”, including retail, food services, wholesale trade, logistics, cleaning and security, Minister Heng said.

IMDA will set up SME Centres and a new SME Technology Hub, where businesses can get support from government advisors on off-the-shelf tech products that have been “pre-approved for funding support” or connect with vendors and consultants, he added. The Hub will provide more specialist advice for digitally advanced businesses.

“SMEs that are ready to pilot emerging ICT solutions can receive advice and funding support,” Minister Heng said.

The scheme called SMEs Go Digital is part of an $80 million programme to support businesses to use technologies.

Businesses will also get funding to use data within their businesses and improve their cyber security, he added. The Cyber Security Agency will also work with professional associations to build up security talent in the country.

The measures were announced in response to recommendations by the Committee on the Future Economy released earlier this month. Small businesses form “the bulk of our enterprises”, the CFE report said. “We must build strong capabilities in digital technologies, in particular data analytics and cybersecurity, which can be applied flexibly across sectors,” it added.