Participants from the early childhood education (“ECE”) sector were treated to a session on how to grow their business, improve productivity and tap into new sources of funding. Amidst an industry backdrop of rising parental expectations and shortage of qualified educators, experts from Microsoft, SPRING Singapore, Rajah & Tann, Kaplan Singapore and RSM shared comprehensive and innovative insights at the recent workshop.
The surge in demand for childcare centres has opened up new opportunities that only the prepared can capitalise on. Terence Ang, Partner, RSM, elaborated on how ECE operators can generate value in their business and identify key value drivers. He also highlighted crucial points to take note of when considering M&A as an expansion strategy. To ensure ECE operators are ready to meet new demands from pre-schoolers and parents, Yasmin Abdeen, Principal Supervisor, Northumbria University at Kaplan Singapore, stressed the importance of developing and nurturing educators in the industry as well as highlighted examples of value differentiators that preschool services can deploy to stand out from the crowd.
Adding to that, Lim Chee Beng, Solutions Lead, CRM, Microsoft, encouraged the use of technology to help understand customers’ behaviours and preferences. Most importantly, it helps to identify new trends and value-added services that are gaining traction among parents. With greater insights, ECE operators can capitalise on this knowledge to acquire new customers and deepen relationships with existing ones.
While ECE business owners focus on growth and building capabilities to better serve families, Jonathan Yuen, Partner, Rajah & Tann, underscored the importance of having legal frameworks in place to protect the value of their business from a wide range of risks that may arise from disputes with regulators, vendors, customers and even stakeholders.
Sylvia Loh, Associate Director, AccountServe, shared with participants how childcare businesses can reduce costs but maintain efficiency through effective outsourcing. She also shared examples of cloud-based accounting and payroll software (e.g. PayDay SaaS Cloud payroll solution) that can help overcome administrative challenges so ECE operators can focus on growing the business.
ECE businesses often cite inadequate funding and cash flow problems as a common stumbling block when attempting to boost capabilities and competencies. In response, the Singapore government has introduced numerous schemes and initiatives over the past few years to help alleviate the problem. William Chua, Tax Partner, RSM, gave a recap of Budget 2016 and explored the tax incentives and allowances available for early childhood education operators seeking to innovate and grow. Fiona Bay, Manager in the Capabilities Promotion Division, SPRING Singapore, shared how SPRING Singapore supports capability upgrading via the Capability Development Grant ("CDG"). She outlined how the CDG can help businesses grow through areas such as innovation, brand development and service excellence.