DBS and Singtel join hands to give SMEs a boost in navigating technological shifts in the economy

DBS and Singtel reaffirmed their commitment to helping small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore to digitalise their businesses and keep pace with the technological shifts in the local and global economy.

Through the nationwide 99%SME campaign that helps SMEs expand their business by digitalising their operations, DBS and Singtel will be enhancing the e-marketplace on the 99%SME portal next month. The enhanced e-marketplace will instantly connect SMEs, especially those without an online presence, to an e-commerce platform hosted on the 99%SME site.

The enhanced e-marketplace will give SMEs who are unsure of how to tap into online sales channels instant access to an online “shopfront” where consumers can browse and buy services and goods across different categories from fashion and beauty products to electronic goods and even stationery instantly, all at the click of a button. This will also help SMEs to raise their profile and grow beyond Singapore’s shores to expand their customer base regionally and globally.

With growing trade uncertainties on the horizon, a recent survey[1] of 220 DBS SME customers conducted in the first week of August found that seven in 10 SMEs said that e-commerce channels and solutions would help drive and maintain their business growth. Of those who did not think that e-commerce channels and solutions would help their business’ growth, the survey revealed that three in five of them did not have sufficient knowledge about digital sales channels and the resources to invest in digitalising their business.

Joyce Tee, Group Head of SME Banking, DBS Bank said that SMEs are the lifeblood of the Singapore economy. “With Asia being the fastest growing region globally, SMEs in Singapore need the right programmes and resources to give them a chance to realise their regional growth ambitions. SMEs are operating in a sweet spot, at a time where their business can grow at an unprecedented rate. This is due to rapid regional economic growth boosting domestic consumption and digitalisation opening doors to new markets and customers.”

Andrew Lim, Managing Director, Business Group, Group Enterprise, Singtel said, “With digital disruptions becoming more pervasive, SMEs need to urgently transform their businesses so that they can thrive in the new economy. Through the 99%SME initiative, Singtel and other partners have pooled our resources with the view of helping at least 10,000 SMEs jump start and accelerate their digital transformation. We will support Singapore’s SMEs to grow, transform and flourish in these rapidly changing markets.”

Tee added, “To give SMEs a leg-up and encourage innovation, public sector partners and MNCs must collaborate and close the gap with SMEs to address technological shifts and also harness the power of technology to expand into Asian markets, grow revenue and drive economic and social development.”

To help close the gap, DBS will be developing a B2B platform where SMEs can gain access to an e-marketplace to sell their goods and services to large corporate and multinational corporations (MNCs). This will be the first of its kind portal in Singapore. It will also grant SMEs access to supply chain connections, financing, and payment solutions that are usually only open to large corporates or MNCs. The development of the portal will also be supported by 99%SME partners Mediacorp, Mastercard and Singtel. It is expected to be launched by the end of 2018 and details will be announced in due course.

A retailer who has benefited from the 99%SME campaign is Tony Moly Singapore. Tony Moly is one of the top three cosmetics brands in Korea, popular for their beauty products. Wilson Lee, Director of Tony Moly Singapore said, “The 99%SME movement has been pivotal to our sales revenue from online channels. Web traffic to our online channels has increased significantly since September 2017 and we are happy that we tapped into 99%SME to grow our business.”

Another SME involved in the 99%SME movement is social enterprise Oh My Goodness!, which employs ex-offenders and persons with disabilities. Said Ramya Ragupathi, CEO and Founder of Oh My Goodness!, “Running a small business is challenging, but it helps to have the right partners who share our mission as well as additional resources to help us along our journey. We are excited to be part of the movement this year and are looking forward to both the courses provided by The DBS SME Academy – we’ve already signed up for the Regionalisation 101 class – as well as the boost to sales that the 99%SME online marketplace could bring.”

This year’s 99%SME campaign was launched at the DBS Auditorium with the Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr. Chan Chun Sing as the Guest-of-Honour. More than 200 SMEs were also invited to a closed-door session with one of Singapore’s business pioneers, DBS Chairman Peter Seah who shared his views on the financial fundamentals of running and growing a business and adapting to change and challenges.

Re-disseminated by The Asian Banker

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