FairPrice extends S$1m scheme to support SMEs on business, cash flow

NTUC FairPrice is extending a scheme to help small local suppliers boost business and ease cash flow, a move expected to cost about S$1 million. 

The SME Suppliers Support and Development Programme was first introduced in 2009 to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with challenges caused by the global financial crisis. It was brought back in 2012 due to the slowing economy and has since been extended annually.

Under the programme, FairPrice spends about S$1 million a year to offer a 50 per cent discount on processing fees as well as a 30 per cent discount on listing fees for the SMEs' new products. 

In addition, FairPrice pays the firms within a month, instead of the usual two months. It also promotes local products through store promotions and product fairs.

About 400 SMEs have benefited from the programme since 2012. 

“Being a homegrown organisation ourselves, FairPrice understands the challenges of being a local brand and the costs of doing business in the current climate. Businesses today face structural disruptions in the retail landscape, changing customer preferences and increasing competition," said Tng Ah Yiam, FairPrice's deputy CEO and head of products, as he announced the extension of the scheme on Thursday. 

"This initiative aims to help our local SME partners enhance their business capabilities and at the same time ease challenges small businesses face such as cash flow," Mr Tng said. 

On Thursday, the supermarket chain also launched its eighth Made in Singapore Fair, an annual initiative that aims to raise awareness for local suppliers and food items.

Today, FairPrice carries about 5,000 locally-made food products, of which about 30 per cent are sourced from SMEs.