Strategic planning session for TACs

An inaugural event by SBF sought to help Trade Associations & Chambers foster closer partnerships and transform to better serve their members

Against a backdrop of a challenging and fast-evolving business landscape, Trade Associations & Chambers (TACs) need to play a bigger role in helping their members navigate the uncertainty ahead. To support them in this task, SBF organised the inaugural Strategic Planning Session for TACs to help them become stronger partners to the Government and local businesses.

Held on July 13, the event saw over 70 leaders from more than 40 TACs meet with Deputy Prime Minister Mr Heng Swee Keat. In a dialogue session moderated by SBF CEO Mr Ho Meng Kit, DPM Heng urged TACs to continue playing their part to help Singapore companies grow and transform.

Deputy Prime Minister Mr Heng Swee Keat

Beyond partnering the Government and the local business community, he also called on TACs to foster closer ties with one another and to work more closely with educational institutions and labour unions. TACs leaders also deep-dived into pertinent issues such as internationalisation, innovation and digitalisation as well as their need to transform to stay relevant for the future.

“There are many common challenges that TACs and their members face and this session allowed everyone to identify those that SBF can help to address.  Also, the natural networking opportunity that this get-together created has generated many potential areas of cross TAC collaboration,” said Mr Wong Wai Meng, first vice-chairman of SGTech’s council and CEO of Keppel Data Centres. SGTech is the trade association for the tech industry in Singapore.

Deputy Prime Minister Mr Heng Swee Keat

Deepening collaborations between TACs

Mr Stephen Yee, Assistant Executive Director of the Singapore National Employers Federation, said that the event was beneficial for the TAC community and hoped to see more partnerships being fostered as a result.

“We should work on action plans together in areas where we can pull resources to collaborate and not duplicate costs. We can also seek government support to work on such joint projects,” he said.

Mr Wong noted that driving collaboration will require more dialogue and interaction among TACs. “Perhaps SBF can facilitate more structured and informal sessions to drive further and deeper collaborations between TACs.  As digitalisation is a big and common theme, SGTech can definitely play a bigger role in enabling and catalysing other TACs.”

In the spirit of such partnerships, SBF inked a Strategic Partnership Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF) at the event, aimed at fostering closer cooperation in the areas of research and advocacy, internationalisation and capability building.

The TACs Strategic Planning Session is the latest in SBF’s efforts to foster stronger ties and understanding between Singapore-based TACs. In September 2017, SBF announced the formation of the TAC Alliance, comprising 31 Singapore TACs and business groups.

Said Mr Ho: “TACs play an important role in facilitating debate and conversation between businesses and the Government to shape pro-enterprise and pro-innovation policies. With more complex challenges faced by our members, TACs need to change, adapt and innovate so we can better serve them.”