To say SMEs are a vital part of the Singapore economy would be an understatement. The segment makes up 99% of all local enterprises and they employ 70% of the island’s workforce. For them to stay afloat in an increasingly digital economy is vital. The SMEs Go Digital Programme is set to ensure this happens.
Announced in Budget 2017, the Go Digital programme led by Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) and SPRING Singapore, will be backed by an $80 million fund to guide SME’s through their digital journey. It will be focussed on industries where digital transformation can drive productivity and streamline processes; specifically retail, food, wholesalers, logistics, cleaning and security.
Running your own SME can be hard enough on a day-to-day basis so this initiative can make a real difference to business bottom lines. This is why the Programme’s creation relied on the studies and ideas of the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE).
So, what support is out there?
Run by the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) the support is wide ranging. As SMEs often have limited resources Go Digital can fulfill basic needs like accounting software and CRM system set ups. This may sound like something simple that isn’t often on the list of top priorities for small scale retailers, who have been operating the same way for years.
Alternatively, for those who have the basics covered the Programme also offers help in data and analytics to help run more cost effective marketing campaigns as well as data protection for those entering the cloud for the first time. Most importantly this information will be easy to access.
A go-to Tech Hub with help from real people
To make this information easily available, Go Digital will strengthen the capabilities of the existing network of SME Centres and build an SME Digital Tech Hub dedicated to all things digital that improve productivity. Experts can provide and guide SMEs when it comes to the Internet of Things, understanding the many benefits of data, and cybersecurity in the digital age.
Offering seminars and workshops the Tech Hub experts can also offer advice when it comes to off the shelf solutions or put businesses in contact with trusted vendors if they require something more complicated. Basically, no matter the level of business digitisation there will be someone to advise. Industry Digital Plans for each sector will offer further assistance.
Staying on top of new technology
The digital journey for business is an ongoing one. Technology constantly evolves offering opportunities as well as roadblocks if business isn’t prepared. To stay on top SMEs can partner with IMDA and vetted technology companies to create unique solutions to their business problems. These solutions can then can be extended to specific sectors.
IMDA plans to collaborate with large companies like financial groups, telecommunication providers, global logistics firms and other groups to create digital packages which bring together the digital complexities these larger groups face into something appropriate for SMEs. Instead of using multiple platforms SMEs can use these packages, built from multi-national experience, to simplify their business operations and, ultimately, grow.
SMEs are a major part of the Singaporean economy and are looking for guidance when it comes to digital transformation
$80 million has been put aside for Go Digital, and initiative to help SMEs on their digital journey
A brand new SME Digital Tech Hub will provide expert digital advisory services for SMEs
There will also be ongoing support as technologies change to help SMEs adapt and grow