As Singapore’s apex business chamber, the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) plays three roles – as a bridge between businesses, trade associations and the government, as a facilitator to support Singapore businesses in their growth journey, and as an enabler to deepen collaborations within the business ecosystem.
The first is very much a two-way affair, says its CEO, Yi Young Lam. “We’re not just a bridge in communicating business news to the government, he explains. “We work to recognize special cases requiring additional support, and feed this back to the government so they can address these concerns.”
The SBF also engages in what Lam terms “international advocacy” – to advance the interests of Singapore businesses through platforms such as the WTO, G20, and the APEC and ASEAN business advisory Councils. He sits on APEC’s Business Advisory Council and its taskforce on Reopening of Borders for Safe and Seamless Travel, which looks at harmonization of requirements to facilitate the smooth resumption of travel.
In its role as a facilitator, the SBF focuses above all on SMEs. “We advise them on trade agreements, link them with overseas partners and help with digitalization,” Lam explains. From November 2019 until September 2021, the GlobalConnect@SBF scheme has helped over 3,800 companies learn about overseas markets, through expert webinars outlining opportunities, or connecting them with partners. “For our companies to grow, they must venture abroad.”