Singtel, DBS beef up initiative to help SMBs digitise

The Singapore telco and bank want to help 5,000 local small and midsize businesses digitise their operations and explore e-commerce options to extend their presence.

Singtel and DBS are offering further help to get small and midsize businesses (SMBs) to digitise their operations and explore e-commerce options to grow their presence.

The Singapore telco and bank were targeting to list 5,000 SMBs on the 99%SME website, which was part of an annual campaign they launched in 2015 to help such businesses expand their in-store and online business.

SMBs were able to list and market their offerings on the website for free, said Singtel, adding that the 5,000 target was double that of last year's. The companies also would join an online marketplace in Singapore hosted by e-commerce operator, Lazada, so they could explore e-commerce options for their business.

In addition, DBS would offer a new suite of financing packages bundled with preferential pricing and fee waivers to help the SMBs adopt cashless and e-commerce services. The bank also would provide incentives to its customer base of 4 million to encourage them to make purchases from participating SMBs.

Media partner Mediacorp had pledged to offer three advertising packages, each worth S$100,000, to the top three SMBs that garnered the most number of likes on its digital entertainment service, Toggle.

Singtel's group enterprise CEO Bill Chang said: "As the bedrock of Singapore's economy, SMBs cannot afford to be left out of digitalisation. By helping SMBs adopt technology, we strengthen Singapore's economic resilience, contributing to building a smart nation."

Chang noted that while most of these small businesses recognised technology as a game-changer, they had yet to fully tap this potential. The 99%SME initiative aimed to address this by helping SMBs get online and drive demand for their products and services, he said.

DBS's group head of SMB banking Joyce Tee added that the bank hoped to help these businesses build up their e-commerce capabilities, deploy cashless services for more efficiency, as well as acquire new skills "with working capital management and productivity training programmes".

Singtel also launched a cloud-based application, Adtiq, which was developed by the telco's digital marketing subsidiary Amobee and touted to enable SMBs to plan, create, and improve their ad campaigns across multiple digital platforms.

During his budget speech in February, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said the government would invest S$2.4 billion over four years to execute a nationwide plan to future-proof the economy and help local enterprises "go digital". "Technology is reshaping businesses, jobs, and lifestyles across the world. We must spot the opportunities in the digital economy, and make the most of our strengths as a nimble, well-educated, tech-savvy society," Heng said, while stressing the need to support SMBs.

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