Singtel ties up with polytechnics to help SMEs

More crucial training in the digital space is on the way for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in the retail, and food and beverage (F&B) sectors.

Singtel will tie up with Nanyang Polytechnic's (NYP) Singapore Institute of Retail Studies, and Singapore Polytechnic to provide this.

For instance, the institute will help firms find "digital professionals" - professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) who have picked up new skills - to help them adopt e-commerce, retail analytics and digital marketing solutions. SMEs signing up for this will enjoy government subsidies of up to 90 per cent.

Besides helping SMEs with productivity, costs and revenue, PMETs will also get to use their new skills. And "students will acquire deep skills and develop entrepreneurial spirit", said Mr Andrew Lim, a Singtel managing director.

NYP students and lecturers at the school's Customer Experience and Analytics Centre will also provide extra support in areas like social media marketing, online merchandising and online consumer analysis.

F&B owners can also get advice from Singapore Polytechnic students, who will help them showcase their firms and products on the 99% SME website, and aid them in using Singtel's Connected Restaurant solution, which includes an online reservation and pick-up service.

Based on the customer behavioural data from the solution, students will also give recommendations to improve products and promotions.

These efforts are part of the 99% SME campaign, which started in 2015 and aims to encourage consumers to shop with SMEs.

The name of the campaign was inspired by the fact that SMEs make up 99 per cent of registered companies in Singapore.

Mr Soh Wai Wah, Singapore Polytechnic principal and chief executive, noted that a team of students, from the business, information technology and communications disciplines, has been put together especially for the 99% SME initiative.

Ms Jeanne Liew, NYP principal and chief executive, said such efforts also "help raise the capabilities of SME retailers in adapting to the fast-changing retail landscape and establishing a global presence".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 14, 2017, with the headline 'Singtel ties up with polytechnics to help SMEs'. Print Edition | Subscribe