UOB launches programme to help SMEs innovate, go global

Smaller firms that aim to innovate and go international have a new funding option.

United Overseas Bank (UOB) will offer support for firms through working capital loans, equipment financing and cross-border cash management and treasury solutions, it said yesterday.

UOB will also link up with technology specialists, such as those from Enterprise Singapore's Centres of Innovation, to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) upgrade their capabilities.

Once in the programme, SMEs will be guided through four stages, supported by UOB and its partners.

This starts with tech experts helping firms identify areas that can be improved with technology.

WORKING SMARTER

By tapping our industry expertise, sector specialisation and partnerships further, including our collaboration with Enterprise Singapore, we hope to help SMEs work smarter through the implementation of advanced technology and equipment.

MR ERIC THAM, group commercial banking head at United Overseas Bank.

There will then be support so SMEs can acquire the technology or equipment needed and, later, get help in implementation.

Firms will also get help to either replicate their innovation efforts as they venture overseas or for their existing overseas operations.

"As part of this new programme, we are equipping our bankers with the knowledge they need to help more SMEs seize the opportunities of Industry 4.0," said group commercial banking head Eric Tham.

"By tapping our industry expertise, sector specialisation and partnerships further, including our collaboration with Enterprise Singapore, we hope to help SMEs work smarter through the implementation of advanced technology and equipment."

Mr Tham added that after the SMEs have "successfully upgraded their technology capabilities" in Singapore, the bank will "support them in replicating their efforts in other markets".

UOB said 25 SMEs in the logistics and transportation sectors are the first to participate in the programme, which will later expand to cover the food and beverage, precision engineering, electronics and info-communications sectors.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 23, 2018, with the headline 'UOB launches programme to help SMEs innovate, go global'. Print Edition | Subscribe