One of the government’s priorities this year is to make Singapore’s small enterprises more tech-savvy and get them to use online and tech resources to improve their business. Both the Committee on the Future Economy report and the 2017 budget announcement reflected that with a range of suggestions and initiatives toward that goal.
To do its part on the ecommerce side, local telco Singtel announced today it partnered with online marketplace Lazada. The two companies are launching an online marketplace called 99% SME, through which small businesses in Singapore can have an online presence and hawk their wares.
The marketplace will be part of Lazada’s website, so users will be served ads about these small businesses and will be able to buy from them using Lazada’s infrastructure. A lot of older enterprises and their owners aren’t as comfortable with the latest gadgets like mobile point-of-sale systems or even websites, so they have trouble keeping up.
With this program, Singtel and Lazada will give them training and resources to make the most of the online shopping dynamo’s reach and customer base.
The initiative is part of the 99% SME program by Singtel, Singaporean bank DBS, and media company Mediacorp. It’s named after the fact that 99 percent of Singapore’s companies are small- and medium-sized enterprises.
The program offers training courses, banking overdraft options, and advertising grants. It also helps businesses adopt cashless payments systems and build online stores. In 2016, the program’s second year, it signed up 2,500 Singaporean businesses and gave out US$200,000 worth of advertising grants. SMEs that participated have reported up to 20 percent increase in their business.
Converted from Singapore dollars. US$1 = S$1.40
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