NTUC FairPrice announces a one-year extension of the assistance programme for their Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) partners, called the FairPrice SME Suppliers Support & Development Programme (SSDP), to help SMEs cope with business challenges and support their business growth. Last year, the programme was brought back and enhanced to not only help with cash flow pressure but to also boost their capabilities for business growth, through knowledge sharing seminars, and to promote their locally made products. Since 1 November 2012, FairPrice has helped over 230 SME suppliers save about $600,000 in discounts on product listing and processing fees.
Speaking at the announcement this morning, Mr Seah Kian Peng, Chief Executive Officer, NTUC FairPrice said, “As a homegrown brand, it is through the support of Singaporeans and our SME partners that FairPrice has been able to grow and evolve into a multi-format and leading retailer. As we succeed, we do not forget our business partners who have also been instrumental in our growth. As such, we are pleased to extend again the FairPrice SME Suppliers Support & Development Programme to help them in their business. We know this has been helpful to our SME partners and we are happy to extend this programme for their benefit.”
The SSDP was first introduced in 2009 for the co-operative’s SME partners with an annual turnover of less than $5 million to help them tide through the global financial crisis. The one-year programme then helped its SME partners to ease their cash flow pressures with shorter payment terms and discounts on product listing fees. The extension of the assistance programme this year is timely as SMEs continue to face increasing cash flow pressures with rising operations costs from labour, rental and utilities. Recent statistics from the Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau showed that local firms in the retail sector register the highest percentage of slow payments where more than half of commercial transactions were not paid on time.
SMEs are a crucial part of Singapore’s economy as 99% of all enterprises in Singapore are SMEs. SMEs also provide 70% of employment and more than 50% of economic output in Singapore. The government recognises the importance of SMEs and the challenges they face and introduced a number of initiatives to enhance support and help them restructure to meet needs and achieve quality growth earlier this year. The extension of FairPrice’s SSDP is aligned with this direction to support the growth of SMEs.
The SSDP Programme
Supporting local brands
As a homegrown brand with a network of almost 120 supermarkets and hypermarkets island wide, FairPrice is keen to leverage its footprint to help raise awareness of local products with the launch of the “Made in Singapore” Fair 2013. From today till 30 October 2013, all FairPrice stores including FairPrice, FairPrice Finest and FairPrice Xtra stores will feature “Made in Singapore” Fair to promote 40 locally produced items ranging from groceries, fresh produce, condiments, beverages and household cleaners. This is the second year that FairPrice has held this fair to help raise awareness and rally support for locally made products.
FairPrice has also been partnering the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) to promote locally farmed food to consumers. Over the years, it has supported various initiatives for local produce such as promoting locally grown eggs, vegetables and fish.
Mr Seah added, “It is only through the strong support from the community that we are able to help our local companies grow. FairPrice has always been supportive of local companies and made in Singapore products and we will continue to work with our local partners to raise greater awareness of local brands. We hope too that our customers will share our efforts to support local businesses by supporting locally-made products and local produce.”
Through the fair, customers will get to enjoy cooking demonstrations using locally farmed produce at all six FairPrice Xtra stores islandwide. More information can be found on www.whatsupatfairprice.com.sg