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Enterprise Singapore’s Group-based Upgrading initiative helps SMEs adopt technology

Enterprise Singapore’s Group-based Upgrading initiative helps SMEs adopt technology

Enterprise
Singapore announced
that with SME Centres
efforts to aggregate common capability needs of SMEs and help to facilitate
group-based solutions for mass deployment its Group-based
Upgrading (GBU) initiative
has resulted in a total of 22 projects.

Introduced
in 2013, SME Centres are one-stop centres set up to provide SMEs with free
business diagnosis and advice, capability workshops and guidance on assistance
schemes.

Collectively,
SME Centres assist over 20,000 SMEs every year though face-to-face business
advisory sessions, capability workshops and outreach events. Most of the SMEs
helped by the centres were micro and small enterprises with less than S$1
million in annual revenue, and between S$1 million and S$10 million in annual
revenue respectively.

SMEs
often seek help in new business set-up, business capabilities diagnosis and
advice on government assistance programmes. In 2017, some 1,100 SMEs embarked
on and completed capability development projects, which nearly doubled the
number of SMEs in 2013. Of these SMEs, 70% embarked on some form of technology
adoption, such as point-of-sale system, customer relationship management
system, HR IT system, etc.

Since
2017, the GBU initiative adopts a group-based solutions approach in tackling
these common business challenges. Individually, SME owners may face resource
constraints in their capability and growth efforts. By pooling resources and
ideas together, SME Centres help these businesses discover collective solutions
to tackle common problems and overcome the challenges together.

The GBU
projects resulted from Business Advisors’ interactions with SMEs surfaced
similar business challenges and issues faced by businesses in the same locality
or trade. These projects, which include both digital and non-digital solutions,
have since helped over 100 participating businesses to improve their sales and
revenue, productivity, customer service levels and shopping experiences, and
are projected to benefit another 200 SMEs by the end of 2018.

One
of such ongoing trade-based GBU projects is led by SME Centre@Association of Small and Medium
Enterprises
(ASME) for the tailoring sector. The project aims to help
businesses in the sector to raise productivity levels by using a 3D body
scanner, where details like body measurements are captured directly into a
customer database through the use of the body scanner. This reduces human
errors and the time needed to manually record the appropriate measurements. An
order management system is also being introduced to help speed up and track the
order taking process and enable easier retrieval of customers’ orders. This GBU
project is targeting to reach out to 30 tailoring businesses by end of 2018.

Another
example of a locality-based project is the One
Kampong Glam GBU initiative
by SME
Centre@Singapore Malay Chamber of Commerce & Industry
(SMCCI) and the
merchant association One Kampong Gelam. This digital makeover project of
Kampong Glam involves identifying technologies to uplift the appeal of the area
by creating a richer and more immersive retail experience. The project
introduces an integrated point-of-sale, CRM and inventory management system to
help improve the productivity of the merchants. With the customer data
collected, businesses are able to use data analytics to enhance the shopping
experience in this heritage-rich area and encourage footfall to the stores.
Currently, there are more than 10 businesses participating in this GBU project,
and the project is expected to see 100 merchants come on board by end of 2018.

According
to the statement, with increasing digital disruption across various sectors
SMEs will need to build stronger digital capabilities and actively adopt
technology to grow their businesses.

SMEs
that need assistance to upgrade or transform their business are advised to
approach the SME Centres and their Business Advisors for free one-on-one
business advisory and business diagnosis, as well as for help to strengthen
their capabilities through capability workshops.

Moving
forward, SME Centres will be driving more impactful group-based upgrading
projects to help SMEs, including businesses in the heartlands, to solve common
business problems and adopt appropriate technology solutions.

SME
Centres will also be deepening their scope of business diagnosis, advisory
services and capability workshops in areas such as:

(1)   
 Digitalisation and e-Commerce

This
aims to help SMEs to recognise the need to digitalise and embark on e-Commerce,
curate available digital solutions and e-Commerce platforms and make
recommendations to SMEs , and organise specific digital solution and e-Commerce
workshops.

(2)   
Internationalisation

For
SMEs new to internationalisation, SME Centres will help organise basic
export/import and market entry advisory workshops, give basic market advisory
(starting with ASEAN markets), and provide advice on relevant
internationalisation tools and programmes, and connect them to Enterprise
Singapore’s overseas centres and/or Plug and Play Network partners.

The Plug
& Play Network
is designed to provide in-market assistance to Singapore
SMEs. This network of in-market partners aims to address challenges faced by
SMEs when venturing overseas in the areas of market knowledge and insights,
business leads and business matching, and co-working spaces options.

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