They spent around $500,000 to start up their bakery, Bake Mission, in 2008.

Last year, Madam Shermaine Teo and Mr Bruce Lei made another large investment of $150,000 in new machinery.

The new machines, which speed up the packaging of the bakery's products by 15 times and shorten other baking processes, have been a worthwhile investment, said Mr Lei, 57.

From a 1,500 sq ft factory space, the bakery is now four times bigger to deal with higher production.

"With the increased productivity, our revenue increased by 15 per cent," said Madam Teo, 45.

So the company gave all its 17 employees a 10 per cent pay rise last year.

For The Jellyhearts bakery in Downtown East, investment in machinery has also benefited its employees.

The bakery's staff now get between 10 and 20 per cent more pay, as a result of greater productivity. They hire one foreign worker and about five locals.

The Jellyhearts' boss, Mr Darren Loh, said he spent a five-figure sum to develop a machine that produces the biscuit crust to its signature cakes.

"In the past, we could make about 30 to 40 tins a day. Now, we have the capacity to make up to 120 tins each day," said Mr Loh, 38, who opened the bakery in 2011.

He also upgraded from the normal cash register to a Point of Sales system, making information organisation more efficient and less time consuming.

Both bakeries made use of the Employment and Employability Institute's (e2i) Inclusive Growth Programme (IGP).


The e2i is a National Trades Union Congress initiative, supported by the Workforce Development Agency, the Singapore Labour Foundation and the Singapore National Employers' Federation.

The IGP aims to help companies enhance operations to drive productivity and equip workers with skills to boost efficiency.

It can provide up to 50 per cent funding for projects submitted by companies that have identified areas with potential for improvements.

Without its help, Bake Mission may not have upgraded their machinery. The scheme covered about $50,000 of their total cost.

"It definitely helped to relieve the financial burden," said Madam Teo.