SMEs can find out how tech can enhance their businesses with IMDA's SMEs Go Digital programme.
By April Zara Chua
Two out of three people in Singapore are employed by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This makes SMEs a significant player in Singapore’s Smart Nation ambition to benefit from technology gains.
To ensure SMEs are not left behind in the Digital Economy, three new collaborations between the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), telecommunication and financial institutions will give SMEs a leg up to ride on the fast-changing pace of digitalisation.
“SMEs are in the best position to adopt new technologies as they are agile and adaptable, combining a high risk appetite with a culture of experimentation,” said Minister for Communications and Information Dr Yaacob Ibrahim. He announced the new partnerships at the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (SCCCI) 19th Annual SMEs Conference and 20th Infocomm Commerce Conference (SMEICC) on 16 August 2017. SMEICC is one the largest SME events in Singapore, boasting about 5,800 participants, 83 exhibitors and 80 speakers.
As one of SMEICC’s partners, IMDA showcased its SME-related initiatives during the conference, which included the SME Go Digital Programme. Since its launch in April 2017, the programme has helped close to 200 SMEs using 30 IMDA pre-approved solutions.
Here are the three new partnerships that could benefit SMEs:
1. Collaboration with telcos: Digital bundles – complete with data analytics
SMEs will soon have access to more comprehensive digital technology-bundled packages provided by local telecommunication companies. Beyond broadband and Wifi connectivity services, the value-added bundles would also include IMDA pre-approved digital technology solutions (such as cybersecurity or data analytics tools and services) designed to help SMEs accelerate the pace of their digital transformation.
The partnership with M1, for instance, includes smart fleet management and retail analytics, while Singtel will offer SMEs access to their digital marketing tools, mobile payment and cybersecurity services, as well as digital solutions targeted at SMEs in the food and beverage (F&B), logistics and security industries. Meanwhile, StarHub is supporting the programme with Smart Retail, an integrated offering that can provide SMEs with cost-effective packages through a single subscription that includes connectivity services, business transformation solutions and technical support.
2. Partnership with financial institutions: Defraying cost and other money matters
Big financial companies in the country have also pledged their support in helping SMEs build new digital capabilities by opening access to more financial solutions. These include bridging loans to help defray costs when investing in digital technologies.
DBS TechMatch service matches SMEs with digital technology providers to help them in their digital technology adoption processes; and the DBS BusinessClass platform connects SMEs with international business mentors who give advice for their growth. Hong Leong Finance has enhanced its SME Capability Ready (CARE) Programme by deploying Relationship Managers who will specialise in guiding SMEs to identify and adopt pre-approved digital solutions, which are supported by Government grants. OCBC Bank offers a wide range of financial support, such as bridging invoice financing; while UOB joins the collaboration with industry-specific workshops aimed at building SMEs’ digital capabilities.
3. Working with large industry players: Streamlining operations
As mentioned my Minister Yaacob, IMDA will work with big companies to implement collaborative digital projects to help SMEs vendors and suppliers. For example, with support from IMDA, Alps Group can now transact electronically with supermarket chain NTUC Fairprice in a fully automated operation using the Order Management and Inventory System (OMI). This is an effort to uplift entire sectors to build across a digital business ecosystem where companies are able to achieve and grow together.
SMEs who want to find out more about these latest initiatives as well as other programmes can visit their nearest SME Centres or the SMEs Go Digital website.