In May 2020, the Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) set up the SICCI Covid-19 Task Force (SCTF) aimed at addressing the concerns of Singaporean Indian businesses and to assist in tiding through the business woes amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Friday, August 29, the ‘SCTF Little India Walkabout 2020’ was launched as part of the Task Force’s outreach efforts. The month-long campaign aims to understand daily issues faced by businesses and to create awareness about the ‘SICCI-Helps’ and ‘SICCI-Cares’ initiatives by the SCTF to support businesses during these times.
The SCTF provides assistance in avenues ranging from business transformation to manpower upgrade, guidance to financial support, digitalization and mental health support.
The launch commenced with a press meet at the Banana Leaf Apollo Restaurant at Little India Arcade where the discussion was headed by SICCI’s Chairman Dr. T. Chandroo, Vice-Chairman Mr. Chandra Mohan, Board Directors Mr. Parthiban and Mr. JK Saravana and newly appointed CEO, Mr. Johnson Paul.
Dr. T. Chandroo said that SICCI is extending its support to not only SICCI members but the entire Indian business community while Mr. Chandra Mohan shared that between April and June this year, as many as 1800 businesses sought assistance from SME Centre@SICCI. He further explained that out of these, 28% wanted to understand the various financial assistance schemes available and how they could tap on them, 25% were looking for business transformation, 23% were looking to set-up e-payment and e-commerce platforms and 10% wanted to regionalize their businesses amidst the pandemic.
The event was also attended by Chairman of the Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association, Mr. Rajakumar Chandra, who explained that Little India merchants are heavily affected from the reduced footfall due to the drop in tourism and reduced migrant worker presence in the Little India precinct.
The walkabout on the day involved the team visiting shops from micro to medium-sized businesses ranging from various industries, including retail, food and beverage, Indian clothing and accessories, poultry and flowers.
During the walkabout many merchants said that they had benefited from the grants and government assistance rolled out during the COVID-19 crisis, with the SME Centre @Little India’s assistance.
The Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry is one of the oldest trade associations in Singapore that serves as an advocator, connector, and enabler for businesses to identify networking opportunities to enhance their operations and capabilities locally and globally. Over its 96-year history, the Chamber has offered members and the wider corporate community a diverse range of services to meet their ever-growing business needs through seminars, conferences, forums, training programs, courses, advisory services and trade missions.