Written Reply by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, to Parliamentary Question on Incubation Stall Programme
Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment (a) how many hawkers have gone through the NEA’s Incubation Stall Programme (ISP) since it was launched in 2018; (b) what is the percentage of these hawkers who have successfully managed to become full-fledged hawkers when support from ISP tapered off; and (c) what are the lessons learnt from those whose ventures have failed and left the programme.
As part of our efforts to sustain the hawker trade, the National Environment Agency (NEA) launched the Incubation Stall Programme (ISP) in 2018 to better support aspiring hawkers. Under the programme, eligible aspiring hawkers run their businesses at pre-fitted stalls with subsidised stall rental for a period of 15 months. This allows them to test and adapt their business plans, refine their recipes, and hone their cooking skills with lower start-up costs. Since its launch, a total of 34 persons have enrolled in the programme. 16 have completed the programme with 8 becoming full-fledged hawkers operating their stalls. Another 10 individuals are currently undergoing the programme, while 8 did not complete the programme.
We have been reviewing and enhancing the programme since its launch. In response to participants’ feedback that they needed more time to build their clientele and stabilise business operations, NEA extended 50% rental discounts from six to nine months, and provided 25% rental discounts for an additional six months.
Success in the hawker trade is determined by a hawker’s ability to prepare a tasty dish and run his or her business well. ISP participants are required to pass a food tasting session judged by an expert panel, and develop a feasible business plan.
We have also introduced other programmes to help aspiring hawkers succeed in the trade. This includes the Hawkers’ Development Programme (HDP), launched in 2020, which offers participants a 2-month apprenticeship with veteran hawkers to learn the ropes. Following this, participants will run their own stalls, either incubation stalls under the ISP or stalls from NEA’s monthly tender exercises, and continue to receive mentorship for up to 3 months.