A recent initiative that puts smaller firms in contact with high-tech start-ups that have promising business ideas is already bearing fruit.
The DBS TechMatch scheme has connected 13 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with start-ups that are designing solutions ranging from low-cost enterprise resource planning systems to customised online sales platforms.
The scheme, which began last August, involves SMEs submitting an initial request to DBS TechMatch.
They are then connected to solution providers through DBS BusinessClass, a mobile application that links firms with other entrepreneurs and industry experts.
SMEs that require specific technology and expertise can get help from Intellectual Property Intermediary Singapore, which matches companies with technology solution providers from its international network.
One such match was made between Singapore beauty and health products brand Kinohimitsu and Thai e-commerce service provider aCommerce. They are in discussions to implement a new inventory distribution, management and logistics system.
Mr Chong Kawee, chief executive of bio-neutraceutical Kino Biotech, which owns Kinohimitsu, said his firm was introduced to aCommerce at a DBS BusinessClass programme two months ago. He felt aCommerce's ideas could help his company provide digital channels to consumers.
The start-up's regional presence through its logistics fleets across South-east Asia, he noted, would also help Kinohimitsu tap into a wider overseas market.
"I think it is very commendable and gracious of DBS to organise such an initiative because it has the networking and the reach," he said. "It is important that (SMEs and start-ups) form communities... to level ourselves up together."
Mr Nigel Seow, aCommerce's business development director, said participating in the BusinessClass programmes gives his firm "further insights into how SMEs want to grow online".
"DBS has helped in introducing us to SMEs, telling them who we are and what we do," he added, noting that the firm's digital solutions were relevant to many brands seeking to go online.
Another SME, children's clothing label Chateau de Sable, was paired with local infocomm technology start-up Business IT Systems (BiTS) two months ago to get its help to implement a low-cost enterprise resource planning system.
Chateau de Sable managing director Stephanie Lemaire said: "DBS has put in a lot of effort to help SMEs like my company become more efficient and grow."
BiTS managing director Jonathan Lee was "very excited" to work with Chateau de Sable. "They are at the stage of their growth where pain points are emerging," he said. "As a small start-up, our goal is the same as DBS TechMatch, which is to help SMEs grow."
Ms Joyce Tee, group head of SME banking at DBS, said it was important to help SMEs find business solutions as they employ 70 per cent of Singapore's workforce, making them a "key driving force to the transformation of our economy".
"We think that the programme has helped to promote the cross-pollination of ideas from various stakeholders in the ecosystem and our outreach efforts have enabled more SMEs to be aware of the technology solutions available," she added.