NTUC LHub, UOB’S Innovation Accelerator The FinLab, Ngee Ann Polytechnic and NTUC U SME Announce Partnership To Digitalise 500 Companies By 2021 Through ‘Reboot’ Programme
Singapore, 09 March 2021 – NTUC LearningHub (NTUC LHUB), NTUC U SME, United Overseas Bank (UOB)’s innovation accelerator The FinLab, and Ngee Ann Polytechnic today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to officially launch the SME Digital Reboot programme, which aims to help 500 companies nationwide deepen their digital capabilities by the end of 2022, in order for them to stay relevant and competitive in a transformed business landscape.
While the SME Digital Reboot programme is applicable to companies of all sizes, the outreach efforts for which will focus strongly on Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Employing more than two-third of Singapore’s workforce, SMEs contribute an estimated half of Singapore’s Gross Domestic Product. Many SMEs think of digital transformation as an exclusive measure only larger companies can afford as they are unaware of the assistance available to drive digital transformation in their own SMEs. The SME Digital Reboot programme aims to create a mindset shift for SME employers, push for upskilling of SME employees, and help SMEs create sustainable business tools for them to adapt to changes. Through a pilot programme, 38 companies have benefitted from the ‘reboot’, turning digital disruption to digital assistance in their businesses.
The SME Digital Reboot programme, which is led by NTUC LHUB, helps to synergise the unique strengths of key partners to uplift companies to keep pace with the age of digitalization. This will be done through an end-to-end solution covering needs assessment, curated training programmes and workplace learning sessions.
Firstly, NTUC U SME will leverage their broad network of SMEs and associations to boost outreach efforts. Secondly, with The FinLab’s expertise in supporting ASEAN SMEs with their business transformation journeys, the organisation will provide companies access to a range of digital resources and tools on The FinLab Online designed to help them understand their business needs and to determine a sustainable digitalisation strategy. Thirdly, NTUC LHUB and NP will provide training across five tracks including Digital Communication and Collaboration, Workflow Automation, Process Automation, Data Processes and Visualisation, and Digital Marketing. Lastly, to ensure that the learning can be applied effectively, the programme includes on-ground implementation support through workplace learning sessions by NP lecturers, graduates and students (Annex A).
A key group benefitting from the pilot is the Association of Employment Agencies Singapore (AEAS), the only industry association representing employment agencies in Singapore. AEAS members are made up of manpower-lean employment agencies where staff training absenteeism is seen as manpower costs incurred. Under the programme, AEAS members would be offered employment advisory for training, training courses for workers and the right tools to kickstart their digital transformation. Having benefited as one of the early adopters of the SME Digital Reboot programme, AEAS signed a MOU with NTUC U SME today as a pledge to help more of their members kickstart their digital transformation through this programme.
Quotes by Key Representatives of SME Digital Reboot Programme
Ng Chee Meng, Secretary-General of NTUC
“NTUC, LHUB and our unions will continue to partner with our employers to transform their workforce as technology is fast evolving the workplace and business operations. As the road to digitalisation gathers pace, I am confident that with SME Digital Reboot programme’s launch, our SME employers will have a positive mindset shift and gain confidence in investing in their workers, upskill their digital skills to remain relevant and keep pace with the times. Simultaneously, we will accelerate our SMEs’ and companies’ transformation by building digital competencies which are vital in driving Singapore’s transformed business landscape.”
Eugene Wong, Chairman of NTUC LHUB
“SMEs are key engines of our economy, yet 40% of SMEs surveyed cited the lack of support and expertise as barriers to digitalisation. As the digital wave sweeps over Singapore, it is crucial for SMEs to effectively reboot their businesses to stay competitive and drive Singapore’s growth. Transformation is a continuous journey, and NTUC LHUB is committed to helping SMEs build future skills that align with industrial changes. The strategic partnership with The FinLab and Ngee Ann Polytechnic to roll out a structured SME Digital Reboot program will empower organisations to take the first step in their digital transformation strategy by building in-demand skills to navigate towards digital success. NTUC LHUB endeavours to continue expanding our ecosystem of partners to transform workers for a transformed future.”
Yeo Wan Ling, Director NTUC U SME
“NTUC U SME is committed to providing targeted assistance to our partner SMEs, to help their workers upskill and their company transform digitally to adapt in the post-COVID-19 world. SMEs are one of the key pillars of Singapore economy employing a large portion of Singapore’s workforce. With the added boost from the recent Singapore Budget 2021, I hope to engage more companies and associations like the Employment Agencies (Singapore) to help them innovate and enhance their productivity.”
Janet Young, Head of Group Channels and Digitalisation, UOB
“COVID-19 has made digital transformation imperative and therein lies the critical need to help SMEs not only weather the immediate impact on their businesses but to thrive in a transformed world. To do that, we are tapping the experience of NTUC LHUB, NTUC U SME and Ngee Ann Polytechnic together with UOB’s expertise and The FinLab’s suite of digital resources and community of industry experts to provide SMEs the guidance they need to digitalise sustainably. Drawing on UOB’s extensive SME network in Singapore and ASEAN, we will continue to broaden our reach to help more companies benefit through the SME Digital Reboot programme.”
Clarence Ti, Principal of Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP)
“We are honoured to be part of this programme to provide a one-stop solution to help SMEs successfully digitalise and transform. By combining training, consultancy and solutioning, this programme takes a holistic approach which we believe will greatly benefit SMEs. To ensure an effective implementation of digital solutions, NP has adapted the training pedagogy in the form of use-case playbooks and best practices. NP is also looking forward to offering post-training consultation and guidance to help SMEs roll out their digital solutions smoothly. Being part of the SME digitalisation journey not only presents a great opportunity for our staff, students and alumni to contribute our expertise, but also allows us to build up additional use cases to further enhance our training programmes in this area.”
Companies are encouraged to leverage the available SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) Funding to enroll into the programme. For more information, please visit here.