Tuesday, 25 June 2024

DBS launches holistic programme to help companies expand regionally

5 min read

DBS announced a holistic programme to equip small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and mid-sized corporations from both Singapore and across the region, effectively expand into new markets to capture business opportunities.

The Bridging Business Horizons programme combines DBS’ extensive regional footprint and deep industry knowledge, with the expertise of partners including Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and support of government agencies such as Enterprise Singapore (EnterpriseSG).

Research has shown that some 57% of Singapore businesses are keen on overseas expansion to capture commercial opportunities from Southeast Asia’s growing middle class, rapid urbanisation and expanding digital economy.

However, companies are facing more headwinds than ever before from increased market volatility, higher business costs and limited resources, as well as the lack of a strong support network, which make entering unfamiliar markets a potentially risky undertaking.

The Bridging Business Horizons programme is designed to help companies bridge these gaps by providing a one-stop solution across three key pillars:

Discover: Learn about various pathways to internationalisation and discover new market opportunities

Develop: Gain insights into a target market such as the business landscape and regulatory environment to develop a more effective entry strategy

Deepen: Connect with in-market experts and partners to deepen their onshore networks for sustained growth

In addition, businesses will be able to tap financing solutions from DBS and resources from programme partners for greater support to scale up their operations.

The programme aims to engage 1,000 Singapore and overseas companies through a series of exclusive networking sessions, insights sharing and workshops. For example, companies can access specialised advisory services to learn how to leverage various Singapore free trade agreements that can help make their exports more competitive.

DBS will also work with partners to plan various in-market engagements to help businesses deepen their understanding, as well as connect and build new relationships in target markets. These include China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, and Taiwan – locales where the bank has a strong presence.

Han Kwee Juan, group executive, Singapore country head at DBS, said: “Since DBS’ inception, the bank has played a significant role in financing Singapore’s fledgling industries and growing new ones. The Bridging Business Horizons programme leverages the collective wisdom and resources of the bank plus our partners, to create a holistic programme that helps SMEs to enter new regional markets and accelerate business growth with insights and connections. We are pleased to be collaborating with the Singapore Business Federation, Enterprise Singapore and other agencies to help put a new generation of Singapore businesses on the regional map.”

Koh Kar Siong, group head of corporate and SME banking, institutional banking, DBS, said: “DBS has had the privilege of partnering thousands of companies in their respective growth journeys over the years. While each path to internationalisation is unique, we have identified key enablers to help businesses develop a robust overseas growth strategy. The Bridging Business Horizons programme takes these learnings and applies them in a structured, modular approach – with support from our partners – to help more companies effectively scale their operations.”

Kok Ping Soon, CEO of SBF, said: “We are delighted to partner DBS in the Bridging Business Horizons programme. This initiative complements SBF’s existing efforts to help businesses scale internationally through our advisory services, business missions and network of Singapore Enterprise Centres across the region. As a programme partner, our goal is to help more companies leverage Singapore’s network of Free Trade Agreements to reduce tariffs and improve market access through our advisory services. We look forward to a strong collaboration with DBS in our collective aim to empower more Singaporean companies to expand their businesses overseas.”

Cindy Khoo, managing director of EnterpriseSG, said: “Given Singapore’s limited domestic market, internationalisation must be a cornerstone of our companies’ growth strategy. It is only when companies venture overseas that they can access a wider pool of customers and other market opportunities, to achieve scale and grow their businesses. Going overseas also helps companies keep abreast of innovative ideas and technologies. We are heartened that DBS is leading the efforts with industry to support SMEs with their expansion plans in the region and encourage our companies to come onboard this new programme for their internationalisation needs.”

Rachel Lim, co-founder of Love, Bonito, said: "We are grateful for the enduring partnership with DBS since our beginnings as a blogshop. As our primary banking partner, DBS has been instrumental in our growth from an online store to a global brand with physical retail outlets across key markets. With utmost trust that our banking needs are well handled, we have been able to focus on celebrating and uplifting Asian women globally through our offerings."

The Bridging Business Horizons is the latest in the bank’s ongoing efforts to help businesses transform and scale - by offering advisory and convening an ecosystem of partners to achieve their business objectives. For example, DBS in partnership with EnterpriseSG, launched the ESG Ready Programme in April to help local businesses build capability and capacity in sustainability.

Re-disseminated by The Asian Banker

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