13 March 2017

Singtel works with Singapore polytechnics on SME initiatives

Singtel today announced another initiative to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore thrive in the digital economy. It has partnered Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) - Singapore Institute of Retail Studies (SIRS) and Singapore Polytechnic (SP) to empower SMEs in the retail and food and beverage sectors to be digitally savvy. The partnerships augment the 99% SME initiative by training SMEs to use tools and resources to get online, establish e-commerce capabilities and to market themselves more effectively.

Singtel will tie-up with NYP’s SIRS to help SMEs hire Digital Professionals who will guide the SMEs on adopting e-commerce, retail analytics and using digital marketing solutions such as search engine optimisation and search engine marketing. These Digital Professionals comprise professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) who have been re-skilled. SMEs which sign up for this scheme will enjoy government subsidies of up to 90%. SMEs can also seek additional support on social media marketing, online merchandising and analysis of online consumers from students and lecturers at the NYP’s Customer Experience and Analytics Centre.

Students of SP will advise Food and Beverage (F&B) owners on ways to better showcase their offerings on the 99% SME website, and guide them to adopt Singtel’s Connected Restaurant solution. This solution, which includes an online reservation and pick up service, allows owners to develop a new revenue source while attaining operational efficiencies. Based on the customer behavioural data obtained by this solution, the students will also offer recommendations to enhance the positioning of the owners’ products and promotions.

Andrew Lim, MD, Business Group, Group Enterprise at Singtel said, “Through the 99% SME movement, our collaboration with Nanyang Polytechnic and the Singapore Institute of Retail Studies are threefold. First, it helps SMEs improve productivity, reduce costs, gain new revenue and scale their businesses. Second, PMETs are being re-skilled and re-employed while using their skills to help SMEs in their digital journey. Third, the students will acquire deep skills and develop entrepreneurial spirit, which prime them for their career development in the digital field.

The Committee on the Future Economy has recommended that SMEs, which form 99% of registered companies in Singapore, be provided expertise and financing support to help them adopt digital technologies. To this end, Singtel has been training SMEs to establish an online presence and adopt digital marketing solutions.

“As food plays an important part in Singaporeans’ lives, our tie-up with Singapore Polytechnic is a boost to the F&B sector. The polytechnic’s students can come up with marketing content to help F&B operators to differentiate themselves effectively and reach out to more online customers. Helping our SMEs to digitise their businesses is a major initiative in the Committee on the Future Economy Report. We look forward to partnering the other polytechnics to empower many of our SMEs with digital know-how and solutions, strengthening an essential component of Singapore’s economy,” Lim said.

“We are confident this collaboration with Singtel will help raise the capabilities of SME retailers in adapting to the fast changing retail landscape and establishing a global presence,” said Jeanne Liew, Principal and Chief Executive Officer of Nanyang Polytechnic.

Soh Wai Wah, Principal and CEO of Singapore Polytechnic said, “We have put in place an integrated team of students from Business, Information Technology and Communications disciplines to support the 99% SME initiative. The team will develop a full suite of solutions to help enhance the local F&B operators’ digital and marketing capabilities. This collaboration will not only enable the SMEs to stay competitive, it also provides a learning platform for our students to apply their skillsets.”

Singtel, together with DBS and other partners, launched the inaugural 99% SME campaign in 2015 to rally all in Singapore to use products and services offered by SMEs. The highlight of the SME campaign is the annual SME Week in October where participating SMEs give customers special offers.

In late February, Singtel and online marketplace Lazada launched the 99% SME e-marketplace – a dedicated portal hosted on Lazada Singapore’s website for SMEs to advertise their offerings and tap on a wider online customer base. The partnership is the first in Singapore to rally and support local SMEs to operate in the fast-growing e-commerce market.

At the time Bill Chang, CEO, Group Enterprise at Singtel said, “The 99% SME e-marketplace, which augments our nationwide 99% SME campaign, provides SMEs with an online marketing platform with no additional on-boarding costs to better scale their businesses in the e-commerce space. This is also in line with the Committee on the Future Economy’s call to help SMEs adopt digital technologies.”

Alexis Lanternier, CEO, Lazada Singapore said, “As a marketplace, we want to equip our sellers, many of whom are SMEs, with the best tools available in Singapore to help them succeed. We are excited about this partnership and the increased reach which sellers can now access across Singapore. Sellers who advertise will be able to reach over 3.5 million visitors* monthly.”

*Traffic from SimilarWeb