SACEOS sounds the alarm: SMEs are worried they may not last after two months

SACEOS president, Aloysius Arlando: greater stimulus is needed to keep enterprises afloat. Credit: SACEOS

Given the global severity of COVID-19, SMEs are seeking more help

Convention and exhibition organisers and suppliers are facing a dire situation in Singapore and may not last more than two months. More help is needed to tide them through this period, said the Singapore Association of Convention & Exhibition Organisers & Suppliers (SACEOS).

SACEOS president, Mr Aloysius Arlando, said that such small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have two major concerns of keeping jobs and ensuring minimal cashflow “to stay sane to hunt for business”.

He said: “The MICE industry is a people business and a service industry. When there are no events, there are no jobs, companies have no income and cashflow dries up. The MICE companies are doing whatever they can to manage their costs and keep their workers. As many companies in the MICE industry are SMEs, they are worried that they may not survive after 2 months.

“Budget2020 has had some measures but they are insufficient given the global severity of the situation which is fast unfolding. Though there is access to working capital loans, these SMEs are concerned that taking up such loans in a very uncertain period, will put them into greater debt.

“SMEs in our industry are solutions provider providing audio-visual, lighting, production houses, design-build fabrication, animation, creative marketing – services that provide the unique Singapore MICE destination with a total immersive experience for an event – think FinTech Festival, F1, Airshow, Singapore Water Week, FHA and the likes that make Singapore unique.”

“SACEOS is constantly giving feedback to the government agencies of the business sentiments and pains of our enterprises. The feedback had resulted in measures in Budget2020. But the situation has changed rapidly, and more stimulus will be needed to keep enterprises afloat, workers employed, so that we can stay strong for business development opportunities and for the rebound.”

In assessing their current state, SACEOS has identified critical areas that the trade association can support using targeted approaches such as the SME Clinics. Two clinics were conducted recently: legal & contract management, and enterprise risk management.

SME Clinics on Mental Wellness and Digital Solutions in COVID-19 will be launched in the next few weeks.

“SACEOS SME Clinic takes on an action-oriented approach with seminar and private consultation sessions. Each clinic is targeted at providing immediate help to plug a problem or a set of issues. Participants would walk away with a set of solutions or resources they can immediately tap into.

“Through these targeted SME Clinics, SACEOS aims to solve immediate issues and improve business owners’ literacy in key business fundamentals and build their resiliency to face any “Black Swan” situations that could come their way,” said Mr Arlando.