Last updated: 13 March 2023
Published on: 09 January 2019
7 MINS READ
More than S$30 million funding to accelerate digitalisation to benefit SMEs over three years
SINGAPORE – 9 January, 2019: The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Enterprise Singapore launched Start Digital, an initiative of the SMEs Go Digital programme. Start Digital will enable new SMEs to get a head start with two foundational digital solutions - with costs waived for minimum six months – to accelerate growth and scalability.
Two other nationwide initiatives to accelerate our businesses’ digital transformation journey were also announced by Minister for Communications and Information, Mr S Iswaran at an industry networking session this morning. These initiatives are:
- Nationwide E-Invoicing Network: IMDA launched the nationwide e-invoicing network, which will enable companies, including SMEs, to adopt e-invoicing to increase productivity and enjoy faster payment collection cycles.
- Data Protection Trustmark (DPTM): IMDA and the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) launched the Data Protection Trustmark (DPTM) to help organisations, including SMEs, build consumer confidence in their data protection policies and practices, thus enhancing business competitiveness.
Start Digital: A digital headstart for SMEs
New SMEs can select any two free foundational digital solutions from five categories of core business functions – i) Accounting, ii) Human Resource Management System & Payroll, iii) Digital Marketing, iv) Digital Transactions and v) Cybersecurity. These SMEs will need to commit to a minimum period of 18 months, with costs waived for the first six months and priced affordably for the remaining period.
They can approach the following participating partners to take up the Start Digital pack – DBS, Maybank, OCBC, Singtel, StarHub and UOB.
Mr Peter Ong, Chairman of Enterprise Singapore, said, “The Start Digital initiative arms SMEs with digital tools right at “birth” - at the point when they are just starting to shape their organisational DNA, develop operational processes, undertake staff training and make other business decisions. Starting digital will help them start right and position well for growth, resilience and productivity. As many young SMEs take this first digital step, the impact on our enterprise landscape and economy can be great.”
Mr Tan Kiat How, Chief Executive of IMDA, said, “A digital-first mindset is essential for businesses that want to stay relevant and competitive in the Digital Economy. I am heartened to see the industry coming together to offer innovative digital solutions to help our businesses on their digital transformation journey.”
SMEs can continue to obtain support from other SMEs Go Digital1 initiatives as they grow and require more advanced digital solutions. They can also refer to the Industry Digital Plans (IDP) to assess their digital readiness and take up suitable pre-approved solutions.
Nationwide E-invoicing Network: Enhance business ecosystem productivity and efficiency
To further raise productivity and efficiency of our business ecosystem, including SMEs, a nationwide network has been officially launched to enable companies to send and receive e-invoices based on the Peppol standard. This allows companies to better track their invoices, reduce operating costs and improve payment collection cycles. The network is part of the Nationwide E-invoicing Framework that was announced by IMDA in May 2018.
Companies are able to sign up with 11 Access Point (AP) Providers, which are operational from today. APs provide the gateway access to the network and can offer services such as sending and receiving Peppol-format e-invoices or translating other formats of invoices (such as PDF) into the Peppol-format. More APs are undergoing certification which will grow access to the network.
To encourage more companies to adopt e-invoicing, grant support will be provided to build the network, educate and bring on board companies. This will enable Singapore to achieve greater economies of scale from the network.
Data Protection Trustmark: Strengthening customer trust and loyalty
Today’s best digitally-enabled organisations use data to understand and better serve their customers. Data usage drives innovation and enables the development of more personalised services such as shopping recommendation engines in a Services 4.02 landscape, where service delivery is automated for repetitive and mundane tasks. As customers’ digital interactions and transactions increase, more personal data will be collected and used to improve customers’ digital experience.
PDPC’s survey3 showed that 2 in 3 consumers would rather buy from a brand that is certified to protect their personal data. In addition, 4 in 5 organisations would also work with partners that properly manage personal data.
The DPTM certification scheme enables customers to easily identify organisations with transparent and accountable data protection policies and practices in place through a DPTM logo, unveiled this morning. This gives business partners and consumers the assurance that the organisation they transact with has responsible data protection policies and practices and will be accountable for the protection of personal data entrusted to it.
40 organisations from diverse sectors registered for the DPTM pilot. The pilot has concluded. 6 pilot organisations have been certified, with the rest expected to be certified by the end of Q1 2019. Certified organisations will be listed on IMDA’s website. The DPTM certification is now open for application by all organisations.
To encourage SMEs to strengthen their data protection accountability and build consumer trust, IMDA is waiving DPTM’s application fee for SMEs till 31 December 2019. Enterprise Singapore (ESG) can support Singapore companies and the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) can also support its members in adopting DPTM by helping defray costs for certification and consulting services.
1 For more information on SMEs Go Digital, please refer to www.imda.gov.sg/smesgodigital.
2 For more information on Services 4.0, please refer to the Services and Digital Economy Technology Roadmap www.imda.gov.sg/sgdigital/tech-roadmap.
3 Between February to March 2018, PDPC surveyed 1,500 individuals (aged 15 and above) and 1,543 organisations across various sectors.
Annex A: Fact sheet: Start Digital (651.88KB)
Annex B: Fact sheet: Nationwide E-invoicing Framework (473.06KB)
Annex C: Fact sheet: Data Protection Trustmark Certification Scheme (422.63KB)
Annex D: Quotes from strategic partners (386.82KB)
ISSUED BY THE INFOCOMM MEDIA DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
About Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA)
The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) leads Singapore’s digital transformation with infocomm media. To do this, IMDA will develop a dynamic digital economy and a cohesive digital society, driven by an exceptional infocomm media (ICM) ecosystem – by developing talent, strengthening business capabilities, and enhancing Singapore's ICM infrastructure. IMDA also regulates the telecommunications and media sectors to safeguard consumer interests while fostering a pro-business environment, and enhances Singapore’s data protection regime through the Personal Data Protection Commission.
For more news and information, visit www.imda.gov.sg or follow IMDA on Facebook IMDAsg and Twitter @IMDAsg.
For media clarifications, please contact:
Chloe CHOONG (Ms)
Assistant Director, Communications and Marketing, IMDA
DID: (65) 6211 0527
Eugene NEUBRONNER (Mr)
Manager, Communications and Marketing, IMDA
DID: (65) 6211 1182
Ruo Yu LIOW (Ms)
Assistant Manager, Communications and Marketing, IMDA
DID: (65) 67512828
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