Singtel teams up with polytechnics to build up SMEs' digital capabilities

Singtel announced two schemes in partnership with local polytechnics that will help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), specifically in the retail and food and beverage sectors, go digital.
Singtel announced two schemes in partnership with local polytechnics that will help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), specifically in the retail and food and beverage sectors, go digital. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB OF WWW.99SME.SG

SINGAPORE - Singtel announced on Monday (March 13) two schemes in partnership with local polytechnics that will help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), specifically in the retail and food and beverage sectors, go digital.

The partnerships augment the 99% SME initiative by training businesses to use tools and resources to get online, establish e-commerce capabilities and to market themselves more effectively.

Singtel will tie-up with Nanyang Polytechnic's Singapore Institute of Retail Studies (SIRS) to help SMEs hire "digital professionals" who will guide the SMEs on adopting e-commerce, retail analytics and using digital marketing solutions such as search engine optimisation and search engine marketing. These digital professionals comprise professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) who have been re-skilled.

SMEs which sign up for this scheme will enjoy government subsidies of up to 90 per cent. SMEs can also seek additional support on social media marketing, online merchandising and analysis of online consumers from students and lecturers at the NYP's Customer Experience and Analytics Centre.

Over at Singapore Polytechnic, students will advise food and beverage (F&B) owners on ways to better showcase their offerings on the 99% SME website (www.99sme.sg), and guide them to adopt Singtel's Connected Restaurant solution.

This solution, which includes an online reservation and pick up service, allows owners to develop a new revenue source while attaining operational efficiencies. Based on the customer behavioural data obtained by this solution, the students will also offer recommendations to enhance the positioning of the owners' products and promotions.

Singtel, together with DBS and other partners, launched the 99% SME campaign in 2015 to rally Singapore consumers to use products and services offered by SMEs. The name of the campaign was inspired by the fact that SMEs make up 99 per cent of registered companies here.

Said Mr Andrew Lim, managing director, business group, group enterprise at Singtel, spoke of the three-fold benefits of the telco's collaboration with the polytechnics:

"First, it helps SMEs improve productivity, reduce costs, gain new revenue and scale their businesses. Second, PMETs are being re-skilled and re-employed while using their skills to help SMEs in their digital journey. Third, the students will acquire deep skills and develop entrepreneurial spirit, which prime them for their career development in the digital field."