UOB's The FinLab launches digital platform for SMEs, start-ups in Asean

The FinLab offers free membership open to all SMEs and start-ups in the Asean region. PHOTO: THEFINLAB.COM

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - United Overseas Bank's (UOB) innovation accelerator The FinLab on Tuesday (June 23) launched an online platform to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups across Asean to digitalise.

The FinLab Online aims to give more business owners and entrepreneurs access to The FinLab's business transformation programmes, with free membership open to all SMEs and start-ups in the Asean region.

Using this platform, SMEs will be able to conduct free self-assessments of their technology needs based on The FinLab's proprietary business analysis tools, learn from industry mentors through video tutorials and webinars, and get guidance on digitalisation strategies.

The FinLab Online will also tap its community network to match SMEs and start-ups to relevant digital solutions and technology solution providers to meet their specific needs. Members will get access to more resources provided by its partners, such as the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation.

Said Pauline Sim, co-head of The FinLab: "Digital adoption is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and there is a clear demand for tailored, actionable support for SMEs and start-ups to take charge of their business growth journey."

The FinLab has received interest from more than 2,000 businesses in Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand in the five years since it launched, and more than 440 SMEs and start-ups across the region registered to join The FinLab Online in April and May this year.

"The FinLab Online leverages UOB's extensive network and close to 85 years of experience operating in Asean to provide the FinLab Online's community with the necessary expertise, knowledge and connections," said Ms Sim.

"We will also share insights from UOB's own experience in growing a successful regional business with our community members to help them navigate their own expansion in Asean in an increasingly digital world."

KS Ho, head of operations at packaging firm Acepac International, said his company has found The FinLab Online's sessions useful during the current pandemic.

"Through the Mentoring Leaders: Opportunities Unusual series, we gained valuable tips and advice on tools and strategies to view Covid-19 as an opportunity rather than a threat," he said.

"We are beginning to explore ways to scale our e-commerce capabilities and look forward to the upcoming training workshops that will help SMEs optimise their platforms and boost audience engagement," Mr Ho added.

Interested SMEs and start-ups can register at the website. They can also register for the July 10 information session about the platform.

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