Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

VMLY&R Singapore launches global commerce accelerator programme

Singapore – Global marketing agency VMLY&R Singapore has launched the global commerce accelerator programme in partnership with the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB). 

The commerce accelerator programme will be based in Singapore and is aimed at developing commerce and commercial advisory services for the agency’s clients around the world. 

It will bring to life three new commerce innovation projects, including IMPACT™, an in-store touchpoint planning platform, OhMyCart™, a disruptive path to e-commerce for small retailers and social sellers, and the agency’s own Commercial Growth Advisory, a Data Driven Commercial Growth Consultancy for Incremental Growth.

VMLY&R will also ramp up its team in Singapore by appointing over 20 new hires across a variety of roles in commerce research and innovation, including commercial consultants, commerce planners, data analysts and engineers, CRM specialists, cloud solution architects among others.

Hari Ramanathan, chief executive officer at VMLY&R South and Southeast Asia and Japan said, “Commerce is an integral part of our key service offerings. We believe that accelerating growth across not only the more traditional commerce channels that agencies have worked on, but expanding through Commercial Growth Advisory and Commercial Marketing, are key to converting an entire consumer journey at the point of sale, ensuring we not only have influence to get people there, but to complete the transaction as well.” 

He added, “Anchoring the program in Singapore will allow us to enhance our capabilities quicker and at scale, and help Singapore remain at the forefront of the Commerce evolution.”

Meanwhile, Junie Fo, vice president and head of commercial and professional services at EDB, commented, “We are delighted to have VMLY&R launch their global commerce accelerator Programme in Singapore, which will unlock new value for brands and create new opportunities for advertising and marketing talent. VMLY&R’s new offering will further strengthen Singapore’s position as an innovative global marketing hub.”

SME Featured Southeast Asia

Grab, EMTEK, Bukalapak launches new program to accelerate digitalization for Indonesian MSMEs in small cities

Jakarta, Indonesia – Understanding that health and digitalization are the foundation of the society and economy, Grab, together with telco EMTEK and e-commerce Bukalapak, has recently launched an accelerator program called, ‘City of the Future’, aimed at targeting 10,000 MSMEs in small cities throughout Indonesia and help them on vaccination, adoption of digital platforms, and empowerment through training and mentoring for business development.

‘City of the Future’ will start in Kupang and East Nusa Tenggara, and will continue gradually in Solo, Gowa, and Malang, as well as Pekanbaru until the end of December 2021. MSMEs who will be joining this program can reach millions of Grab and Bukalapak consumers in the country. They will also be getting new income opportunities by having digital stores so as to maintain the stability of their business even during the pandemic. 

Through the program, Grab, Emtek, and Bukalapak will combine their expertise to train and assist MSMEs in order to improve their ability to be ready in joining the digital economy. Around 100 selected MSMEs in Kupang and Solo will also receive special training on business management mentored by Grab and Bukalapak, free assistance for one month from the design, packaging to marketing through social media and influencers, and free advertising on Grab and Bukalapak platforms. Moreover, five selected MSMEs will be receiving publication on the Emtek Group media network.

Neneng Goenadi, the country managing director of Grab Indonesia, commented, “We believe big futures also exist in small towns. We hope that the program can open the door to a wider market for MSMEs in small cities without having to move locations, and in the end, will have a comprehensive impact on the regional economy.”

Meanwhile, Sutanto Hartono, EMTEK’s managing director, said that the digital ecosystem collaboration owned by EMTEK and Grab will provide more complete access to MSMEs on our platform, from logistics to financial inclusion, through the Mitra Bukalapak and GrabKios platforms, for example.

“The EMTEK media network will play a role in increasing awareness for both customers and MSME players on the maximum use of digital platforms,” said Hartono.

Rachmat Kaimuddin, Bukalapak’s president director, noted that this joint collaboration continues their commitment to support the development of MSMEs in Indonesia through digitalization. 

“The Future City Program, which prioritizes tier 2 and 3 cities throughout Indonesia, is in line with our mission to create a fair economy for all with the main focus on empowering MSMEs and serving underserved segments.”

SME Featured APAC

APAC’s Plug and Play unveils new programs to accelerate startup, SME growth

Singapore – Global innovation platform Plug and Play has recently concluded its APAC-centric summit last 1 to 2 June, in which the firm introduced three new programs for startups and SMEs. 

The three new programs are the ‘Sustainability Program’, ‘Business Solutions Accelerator by Facebook’, and its ‘GK – Plug and Play Program’. 

In the virtual event, it was announced that the ‘Sustainability Program’ seeks to provide the tools and network for startups with disruptive technologies that will allow them to empower big corporations to meet their green initiatives.

Part of the solutions instated include equipping SMEs forward thinking into creating sustainable supply chains, implementation of digital technologies for sustainable production, training and advisory for sustainable practices, and compliance or certification of sustainable practices. 

Jupe Tan, managing partner at Plug and Play APAC, commented, “This year we celebrate our 15th anniversary with a global team of almost 600 across 35 cities around the world. We will look to actively invest in technologies that focus on enhancing our living environment and address our resource constraints in a sustainable manner that reduces emissions and efficiently uses natural resources.” 

Meanwhile, the ‘Business Solutions Accelerator by Facebook’ will be made possible by Facebook and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to which Tan describes as an innovation catered to looking into areas such as cleantech and clean energy, sustainable agriculture, inclusive fintech as well as inclusive healthcare.

Through the accelerator, Facebook is looking forward to nurturing and collaborating with technology partners that share Facebook’s commitment to improving the merchant experience for businesses across the Facebook family of apps. Program benefits include product education, dedicated Facebook mentors for guidance on product development and business growth, networking with fellow startups and ecosystem enablers, insights into industry and innovation trends.

Lastly, the ‘GK Plug and Play’ aims to make innovation within reach for enterprising groups and individuals. Plug and Play aims to build a smart future by connecting innovation to the brightest minds, as well as building a unique ecosystem as their mission that connects change-makers and leading organizations. So far, the accelerator program has run 8 batches and accelerated 123 startups giving them enhanced access to mentors, investors, and corporations.

On the program with Facebook and ADB, Tan said, “I am proud to announce that we have embarked on a regional partnership with the Asian Development Bank through ADB Ventures, the new venture arm of the ADB. Together with ADB Ventures, we hope to source for and invest in bold technology startups that are working to solve Asia Pacific’s biggest unsolved problems. 

SME Featured Southeast Asia APAC

Visa invites PH, other APAC start-ups to join new accelerator program

Manila, Philippines – Digital payment company Visa has announced the launch of their newest accelerator program for APAC start-ups in expanding their business reach to a global level.

The new “Visa Accelerator Program” will focus on making selected start-ups be connected with bank and merchant partners of Visa globally through commercial opportunity collaborations. Furthermore, the accelerator program is designed for start-ups that have built a consumer base in their home country, and are ready to enter new geographical and consumer regions.

“In Visa’s ongoing work with the startup community, we often see companies face challenges when taking their business from a local success story to becoming a player in multiple markets. There is a vibrant fintech ecosystem in the Philippines. At Visa, we have global expertise that can help startups take their expansion plans off the white board and into the real world. We encourage Philippine startups who want to partner with us to join this program so we can help them scale,” said Dan Wolbert, Visa country manager for the Philippines & Guam.

Areas of interest that Visa wants the participating start-ups to address are as follows:

  • Expand access to the digital economy to consumers and businesses that are underserved or cash-dependent
  • Support of small businesses as they struggle with changing technology demands and the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Leveraging the growing open data environment in the region to develop more personalized banking and shopping experiences
  • Developing new ways of moving money that aren’t dependent on traditional credit and debit cards

“There is no shortage of fantastic solutions coming out of the Asia Pacific, particularly the Philippine startup community. What’s most important to Visa is how we can support those solutions getting elevated to a stage where in a few months’ time they could be pitched as a commercial deal to a leading bank, retailer or technology company in the region. A big differentiator for the Visa Accelerator Program is our concentration on a small number of startups that are truly ready to unlock that next level,” Wolbert added.