New partnerships between IMDA, A*STAR and Institutes of Higher Learning to support SMEs’ digitalisation efforts

Photo credit: IMDA

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has entered into new partnerships with the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and ten IHLs (Institutes of Higher Learning) under the SMEs Go Digital Programme to further support SMEs’ digitalisation efforts.

Announced at Budget 2017 and officially launched in April 2017, the SMEs Go Digital Programme helps SMEs (small and medium enterprises) in the adoption and use of digital technology to boost their productivity and build their digital capability. Till date 480 SMEs have adopted pre-approved digital solutions. This has also generated over S$8.5 million in revenue for Infocomm media solution providers. To accelerate the pace of digitalisation of SMEs, IMDA has issued an open call for pre-approved digital solutions for SMEs.

SMEs can approach these partners through the SME Digital Tech Hub’s Principal Consultants. The Consultants will be able to assist the SMEs and connect them to the most appropriate partners, such as A*Star or an IHL. The SMEs can then receive advanced consultancy services, on a complimentary basis, to help them make the most of digital technology and assist them in developing their digital transformation roadmap.

SMEs that do not have market-ready digital solutions can also tap on Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) expertise and resources to develop and prototype customised solutions for them.

“Digitalisation is massively transforming every sector of our economy. Through the SMEs Go Digital programme, SMEs can access resources and partners to help them develop digitial capabilities and take full advantage of the opportunities in a Digital Economy. IMDA is excited to expand the network of partners available to SMEs with this latest collaboration with A*STAR, the Institute of Technical Education and our Institute of Higher Learning partners. SMEs can look forward to getting support in areas such as strategic technology planning, protoyping of digital solutions and training in frontier technologies” said Tan Kiat How, Chief Executive, IMDA.

Partnership with A*STAR

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between IMDA and A*STAR to leverage A*STAR’s Operation and Technology Roadmapping (OTR) initiative to support the SMEs Go Digital programme through strategic roadmapping.

Through the OTR exercise, A*STAR facilitators will help SME develop a customised roadmap to strategically allocate resources to the relevant digital technologies at the suitable timing for the optimal business impact.

In addition, the SME Digital Tech Hub will work with the SME Centres and Trade Associations and Chambers (TACs) to gather together SMEs from the same industry to identify common digital needs for participating companies. The aim is to identify industry-wide needs and kick-start new projects or programmes that can create a collective impact for the sector. The initiative also serves to create awareness amongst SMEs on OTR, enabling companies to understand the importance of roadmap planning for business success.

Partnership with IHLs and ITE

IMDA has partnered the ITE and IHLs, including polytechnics and universities to help SMEs build strong digital capabilities. The list includes Nanyang Polytechnic, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Republic Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic, Temasek Polytechnic, National University of Singapore, Singapore University of Technology and Design, Singapore Institute of Technology, Singapore Management University, and Singapore University of Social Sciences.

Some of the areas that SMEs can look forward under this collaboration include prototyping of solutions, specialised consultancy in specific domains (such as Data Analytics, Cybersecurity, Internet of Things), as well as tailored workshops and courses designed for the SME community.

ITE and IHL partners will help to develop prototypes for SMEs to test. If the concept of the prototype addresses the SMEs’ challenges, SMEs can then engage them. These partners will work with infocomm media (ICM) vendors to develop the solution for actual deployment. This would help to lower the barrier to grow SME’s adoption of digital solution.

Digitalisation not only requires the implementation of digital technology but also a skilled digital workforce. The partners provide courses and workshops tailored to equip an SME’s employees with essential digital skills.

In line with the national SkillsFuture movement, the partners will also provide ICM courses tailored for SMEs, to equip their workforce with digital capabilities to support their digitalisation. SMEs can also make more informed decisions on the choices of courses for their employees by referring to the listing of courses provided by the partners, and partners can create platforms to share more SME-centric digital workshops or events for the SME community.

The institutions will also organise training and workshops to help drive awareness of the SMEs Go Digital programme and help SMEs with their digital transformation.

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