SMEs to get more help on remote working solutions

Those in healthcare, education sectors can get subsidies of up to 80% for adopting approved digital solutions

Available solutions include platforms which let healthcare providers conduct video consultations and organise delivery of medicine to patients.
Available solutions include platforms which let healthcare providers conduct video consultations and organise delivery of medicine to patients.ST PHOTO ILLUSTRATION

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic changing the way businesses operate, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the healthcare and education sectors are getting more government support to adopt tech solutions for remote working, such as video consultation platforms and online learning systems.

Companies can receive subsidies of up to 80 per cent from the Productivity Solutions Grant for adopting approved solutions under the expanded SMEs Go Digital programme.

Details of the scheme, which will run until Dec 31, were announced by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Enterprise Singapore (ESG) yesterday.

"Covid-19 is accelerating the transition to a new model of service delivery using digital solutions. We are happy... to support our SMEs to go digital and adapt to the new normal," said IMDA assistant chief executive Jane Lim.

Available solutions include platforms which let healthcare providers conduct video consultations and organise delivery of medicine to patients, and learning management systems which facilitate the creation and delivery of online content.

The two agencies noted that video consultations offer patients with non-emergency and chronic conditions the option to receive care at home at a time when movement has to be minimised because of social distancing.

Learning management systems, meanwhile, give education centres and training providers the flexibility to deliver content and reinforce learning using online tools any time and anywhere, the agencies added.

"We hope these digital solutions... will enable our healthcare and education businesses to continue running their operations, and help retain their workers. They can also strengthen their capabilities for the long term," said ESG deputy chief executive officer Ted Tan.

Eligible SMEs that want to adopt these solutions can apply for subsidies online. 

IMDA and ESG rolled out a first wave of subsidised remote working solutions for SMEs last month, when the subsidy cap was raised from 70 per cent to 80 per cent. SMEs could also receive up to three laptop devices when adopting a solution.

KEEPING BUSINESSES GOING

We hope these digital solutions... will enable our healthcare and education businesses to continue running their operations, and help retain their workers. They can also strengthen their capabilities for the long term.

MR TED TAN, deputy chief executive officer of Enterprise Singapore (ESG).

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 16, 2020, with the headline 'SMEs to get more help on remote working solutions'. Subscribe