What is Innovation and Capability Voucher (ICV)?
The Innovation and Capability Voucher (ICV) is a $5000 voucher that is awarded to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to assist such enterprises and business in its operations and establishment. This voucher provides the sufficient amount of resources to specifically provide the enterprises the ability the afford upgrades that would substantially increase the business’s efficiency. Namely, the ICV enables the enterprises to be able to afford upgrading services in areas of Productivity, Human Resources and Financial Management. The ICV replaced the Innovation Voucher Scheme (IVS), but still retains the IVS benefits of technological efficiency that includes technological development services.
The vouchers can be applied for through various service providers that support the ICV scheme. Such service providers can be found on the SPRING website’s ICV section. Two vouchers can be applied for in each of these applications for each specific area of innovation and capability that is supported by the ICV. Additional assistance can be sought after from other programs that are available to SMEs. When the vouchers are used up, a project that covers the sectors that the ICV covers has to be completed before an enterprise can go about applying for another one.
SMEs can apply for the ICV through the ICV Online Portal, which will take two days to process. Successful applicants will receive an e-mail as a notification. However, it is imperative for SMEs to remember and to note that a report has to be submitted to the Standards, Productivity and Innovation Board (SPRING) after the completion of the project that was funded by the ICV.
Local enterprises have to meet 3 requirements before it is eligible to apply for the ICV. Firstly, they have to locally registered residents of Singapore. Secondly, they have to hold at least 30% of local shares. Lastly, the enterprise must be of a size that fits the characteristics of an SME. That is to say that annual sales must not amount to more than $100 million, or the enterprise must not have employed more than 200 employees.
The ICV supports specific areas of services and expertise to enable enterprises to be increasingly efficient and aid in their expansion and growth. Such specific areas include that of innovation, productivity, human resources and financial management. Each SME can apply for two vouchers for each of these four segments that are supported by the ICV scheme.
The innovation segment under the ICV covers technological development and technological assistance, including assistance in business design. This segment that the ICV covers includes the upgrading of the company’s products, goods and operations.
The Productivity segment includes the implementation and attainment of the ISO 9001 and HACCP software, assistance in productivity management and aid provided to help the enterprise towards service excellence.
3) Human Resources
The segment for Human Resources features services in the planning of manpower and recruitment, career management, and some learning and developmental assistance regarding employees. Basically, this segment focuses on the upgrading of the SME’s pool of human resources.
4) Financial Management
This financial segment that the ICV covers includes services for financial planning such as budgets, and capital management. It also features financial controls that can be implemented by the SMEs.