As a government agency, DEPA, is responsible for promoting digitalisation and has taken a key role in educating, providing funding and assisting entrepreneurs to get started on digitalisation. The agency provides comprehensive measures, including financial support for technology adoption and implementation, and standardisation of application and intellectual property registration, to make digital transformation more manageable for businesses across all sectors.
However, SMEs still struggle to realise impact on its business. Statistics from the Department of Industry Promotion’s recent survey revealed that 13.74 per cent of SMEs cited technology and innovation development as one of the top challenges they face. This is despite a recent “UOB ASEAN SME Transformation” study showing that 71 percent of SMEs ranked technology investment as their top priority.
This is where the private sector fills the gap.
Support from the private sector has come in many forms,from subsidising technology solutions, creating online ‘marketplaces’ for SMEs to gain insight into the latest solutions available and funding accelerators targeted at supporting SMEs to achieve sustainable growth post-COVID-19.
UOB is among many organisations who play an active role in helping SMEs transform their business. The Smart Business Transformation Programme (SBTP), a collaboration between UOB, The FinLab, depa, the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) and the Office of SMEs Promotion (OSMEP), was initiated to match appropriate and innovative technology solutions to the needs of SMEs.
Since the programme’s inception in 2019, there has been almost 600 technology adoptions by SMEs and these include Anymind Group, an agency that offers digital marketing solutions, Zaviago, an e-commerce solution, UOB’s BizSmart, a comprehensive selection of back-end operations solutions.
In bringing together an ecosystem, impact can be felt by both the suppliers of the solution and demand from businesses.