Centres of Innovation (COIs) make it easier for SMEs to innovate and increase their competitiveness
1. Raise Business Capabilities
With the support of SPRING Singapore, Centres of Innovation (COIs) established at polytechnics and research institutes across Singapore are helping SMEs build up capabilities for long-term growth. COIs can provide lab facilities to drive innovation, plus consultancy services and training courses to enable SMEs to make informed decisions on product development. For example, the COI for Supply Chain Management supports SMEs in reducing business costs and improving productivity by developing innovative solutions which streamline workflow and weed out processes that do not add value.
2. Create New Revenue Streams
As COIs work with specialist staff at polytechnics and research institutes, they can offer ready access to the latest expertise. SMEs can leverage this to gather new information and skills to create innovative channels, products and services. COIs also provide an environment for SMEs to exchange ideas, intelligence and best practice tips with other businesses that have complementary interests.
3. Test New Products
Investing time and money in an untested new product is like driving a car blindfolded. Businesses can engage COIs to verify the viability of a product or service before investing and introducing it to the market. For instance, the Materials COI can assist SMEs in breaking new ground through the development of proof-of-concepts, product prototyping or fabrication scaling.
4. Differentiate Product Offerings
Regardless of what your business does, patents, industrial processes, business methods and other objects of intellectual property (IP) can give your business a point of difference in the market that can be a valuable asset for future growth. The COI for Electronics, for example, provides a range of services to help SMEs create a niche, including IP creation and translation to the marketplace, and consultancy services in IP management.
5. Increase Competitive Advantage
COIs offer a range of services to help SMEs develop breakthrough products and solutions, from R&D infrastructure to cutting-edge technology. For instance, an SME can use a COI’s facilities and services to speed up product conceptualisation and development, so they stay competitive. The Food Innovation Resource Centre harnesses technologies to create unique, value-added food products, helping SMEs expand and compete more effectively in the global market.