Singapore – Tech giant Google has teamed up with the statutory board Enterprise Singapore and tech trade association SGTech to offer 15,000 Google Career Certificate (GCC) scholarships to 300 local small and medium enterprises in the country.

The GCC scholarships will provide SMEs with free access to flexible online training programmes to upskill in areas such as digital marketing, e-commerce, data analytics, IT support, and more. No prior experience is needed, and learners will earn an industry-recognised credential in three to six months of part-time studies.

Said scholarships were given out at the first Grow with Google for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) event, which was graced by Alvin Tan, Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry & Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.

Google will also expand its GCC and scholarship offerings to include advanced Certificates in these areas. Designed and taught by Google experts, the Certificates provide participants with hands-on experience with tools such as BigQuery, Python, and Tableau.

Ben King, country managing director at Google Singapore, said, “To fully unlock the potential of Singapore’s economy, we must ensure that SMEs and their employees have a chance to pick up new skills and knowledge to stay relevant in a fast-changing landscape. A recent Google study found that workplace training and online learning are major sources of skills attainment among Singapore employees, and 6 in 10 rely on government awareness programmes as their primary source of information.” 

He added, “Strategic public-private initiatives can help cultivate greater awareness and provide more learning opportunities for SMEs to pursue their growth ambitions locally, regionally and globally.”

Google has helped over 9,400 local SMEs since 2020 advance their business with digital tools and training, including through the Digital Practitioner Programme (DPP), developed in partnership with EnterpriseSG. This helps SMEs and heartland enterprises deepen their in-house capabilities in digital marketing and basic data analytics, through a two-month training programme and a three-to-six-month practicum with dedicated Google Specialists.

Singapore – Enterprise Singapore (ESG), the statutory board under the Ministry of Trade and Industry in Singapore, has partnered anew with e-commerce platform Lazada to reintroduce its ‘E-commerce Booster Package’, an initiative that encourages local SMEs and brands to shift to digital.

The ‘E-commerce Booster Package’, which was initially rolled out last year, has been relaunched by ESG on 16 May, with the aim to help retail businesses affected by the pandemic to diversify their revenue channels and defray business costs of going online.

Through the new partnership, Lazada will be putting together three specially curated packages, which are basic, standard, and premium, offering different value propositions to cater to different merchant appetites. The packages will help boost businesses across areas of content creation and store decoration, onboarding and incubation, as well as an advance training class, and marketing credits, among others. Each package is designed to eliminate barriers to selling online. 

Availing the package, retailers can enjoy an 80% subsidy off qualifying costs, up to S$8,000. In addition to the assistance on content and creative marketing efforts of brands, the onboarding packages will also come with marketing and shipping credits, and a dedicated account manager. 

Furthermore, under the ‘Premium’ package, valued at S$28,890, qualifying retailers only need to pay S$2,000 after the subsidies, which amounts to 93% in savings.

The deadline for interested parties to apply for the ‘E-commerce Booster Package’ via Lazada is 16 November 2021.

Enterprise Singapore’s Assistant Chief Executive Officer Dilys Boey commented that they are heartened by the support shown by industry players like Lazada who have continued to work with ESG to help retailers accelerate their move to acquire more customers online. 

“With the support of our E-Commerce Booster Package, we hope to lower the barriers for retailers to build new digital capabilities, like digital marketing or product positioning, which will not only help sustain operations in the immediate term but also strengthen their competitiveness beyond the pandemic,” said Boey.

Meanwhile, James Chang, the CEO of Lazada Singapore, said that it is part of Lazada’s mission to empower retailers and transform them for the future – as e-commerce increasingly becomes part and parcel of the way to shop, it will be an avenue that retailers cannot ignore. 

“If retailers fail, e-commerce also fails. We want to extend our hand and do our part to see merchants through this period where the pandemic is ravaging many industries, especially retail,” said Chang.

In May this year, Lazada has also announced its partnership with Great Singapore Sale (GSS), offering benefits including three months 0% commission for new LazMall sellers, as well as a free live streaming slot on the platform, exclusively for members of the Singapore Retailers Association (SRA) who take part in GSS.

Singapore – All-in-one global business accelerator and venture capital firm, Plug and Play, in APAC, has announced the launch of its inaugural Global Innovation Alliance (GIA) Tech Showcase program in Manila, an event enabling startups and SMEs to connect with overseas businesses and tech communities. This is in partnership with Singapore government agency Enterprise Singapore.

Through the Tech Showcase, startups and SMEs will have the chance to pitch their solutions to different business difficulties provided by Plug and Play APAC’s network of corporates. The program will include business matching across the span of a month. 

Furthermore, the Tech Showcase will have a panel session on the topic of ‘Financial Inclusion’ and ‘Fintech landscape in Manila’. The panelists invited for the session are senior executives from Filinvest Development Corporation, and the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation, as well as start-ups from both Singapore and the Philippines. 

The event will also be graced by the Singapore Minister of State, Alvin Tan, and the Philippines Undersecretary of Competitiveness and Innovation Group at the Department of Trade and Industry, Dr. Rafaelita Aldaba.

Rachael Sum, regional director of Enterprise Singapore in Manila Overseas Center, commented that they look forward to working with Plug and Play in the Global Innovation Alliance (GIA) program in Manila. 

“Through the GIA program, we will help plug Singapore SMEs and startups into the Philippines’ vibrant innovation ecosystem. This will create opportunities for Singapore and the Philippines enterprises to work together and co-innovate,” said Sam.

Meanwhile, Jojo Flores, co-founder of Plug and Play, also shared, “The fintech trends for 2021 are continuously gaining momentum and we have yet to see how these smart technologies will transform the finance industry as we face the recovery phase of the global crisis. I am excited to hear from the startups that are pitching at the event, how their product can offer innovative solutions in areas such as financial inclusion here in the Philippines.” 

The GIA Tech Showcase program in Manila will be held virtually on 24 March 2021, from 2:00 pm SGT to 4:00 pm SGT.

Singapore – As International Women’s Day (IWD) draws near, the Singapore arm of e-commerce giant Amazon has launched a dedicated storefront which will feature local products from women-owned SMEs.

The storefront will showcase stories and products offered by 12 women-owned businesses over the next 4 weeks – from craft supplies to baby and maternity essentials. Starting today, customers can read more about the journey and motivations of the featured entrepreneurs, shop their offerings on, and enjoy promotions on selected products as part of the IWD celebration.

Some of the featured owners include Yvon Bock, founder of baby and maternity lifestyle brand Hegen; Beth Candice Wu, founder of local gift company and social enterprise HoneySpree; Pauline Ng, founder of cult-premium skincare brand Porcelain, and Suzanne Vetillart, CEO of sustainable handcrafted jewelry brand Boma Jewelry. 

For Bernard Tay, country leader at for seller services, and head of Amazon Global Selling for Southeast Asia, women are a critical force for Singapore’s economic progress, and the growth of their businesses fuels its collective success.

“At Amazon, we are committed to offering equal opportunities for all sellers to help them unleash their entrepreneurial potential, regardless of their gender and background. Amazon is proud to mark this year’s International Women’s Day by celebrating the resilience of women entrepreneurs and showcasing their success stories,” Tay said.

He added, “We hope that their experiences will resonate with other entrepreneurs, encouraging them to #ChooseToChallenge gender conventions and grow their businesses globally with us.”

Amazon Singapore is also teaming up with Enterprise Singapore to help local retailers, including women-run businesses, sell online and scale globally. Through the  Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) scheme by Enterprise Singapore, entrepreneurs can avail of a maximum S$100k grant per new country they expand to, for up to 70% of eligible costs for overseas promotion, overseas business development, and overseas country set up. 

This then allows female entrepreneurs to avail tools and resources to sell online with, expand their business across Amazon’s 20 stores worldwide, and reach more customers anywhere.

Singapore – ‘Start Digital’, a digital initiative started by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Enterprise Singapore for SME support, is refreshing their existing digital solutions in order to provide newly incorporated SMEs or those that have yet to digitize with foundational and easy-to-deploy digital solutions.

Initially launched in January 2019, the Start Digital program has helped more than 30,000 SMEs to adopt various digital transformation strategies for their businesses, known collectively as the ‘Start Digital Pack’. These solutions are offered across six partners, namely financial institutions DBS, Maybank, OCBC, and UOB, as well as telco Singtel and M1.

Start Digital is offering three new and enhanced categories:

  • Digital Collaboration – These enable employees to work from home or any other convenient locations. Examples include Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace.
  • Digital Marketing – Tools that provide SMEs with templates to create social media ads and manage their digital ad buys and placements on a single platform. This allows SMEs to easily manage targeted digital marketing campaigns and reach out to consumers on social media.
  • Digital Transactions – InvoiceNow-linked solutions offered by bank partners are integrated with e-payment including PayNow Corporate to enable SMEs to generate/receive e-invoices through InvoiceNow and receive/make e-payments seamlessly. These solutions help SMEs improve transaction accuracy and administrative productivity. Both e-invoicing and e-payments are part of digital utilities which IMDA is putting in place as baseline infrastructure for the digital economy. Similar to their physical counterparts, digital utilities provide common standards and ease of transactions for businesses. 

Start Digital initially included accounting, human resource management system and payroll, digital marketing, digital transactions and cybersecurity solutions. 

“Based on feedback from SMEs and Start Digital partners, IMDA and Enterprise Singapore are enhancing Start Digital to include new solutions that will enable SMEs to collaborate seamlessly with internal and external parties, and gain new customers,” according to a factsheet released by IMDA and Enterprise Singapore.

Both institutions have been proactive in driving support for SMEs and startups based on digital transformation strategies. Earlier this year, Enterprise Singapore supported the launch of the PlanetSpark Innovation Centre to focus on tech startups seeking to deploy artificial intelligence of things (AIoT) to the market. 

Singapore – PlanetSpark, the investment arm of electronic components distributor Excelpoint, has launched the PlanetSpark Innovation Centre, an accelerator for Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT) innovations targeted to supporting Singapore tech startups speed up market deployment, and is supported by Enterprise Singapore.

Under the accelerator program, PlanetSpark will invest an initial S$5 million to expand the centre’s engineering capabilities and develop technology platforms, and has secured a lineup of five startups for its upcoming pilot run of accelerator programme. The project is also in response to high complexity associated with AIoT solution development – from proof-of-concept to production, and eventual commercialisation.

Through the program, PlanetSpark offers a one-stop ecosystem that brings together innovators, hardware and software providers, venture capitalists, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), manufacturers and potential customers.

“Startups can tap into Excelpoint’s vast industry networks of semiconductor manufacturers, sales channel partners and design engineering expertise – enabling the startups to expedite product design and optimize system-level integration for rapid prototyping, thereby reducing their time, cost and risks in bringing their solutions to market,” the company said in a press statement.

The initial group of startups will be developing market-deployable solutions integrating the middleware to solve real-world challenges in thermal sensing, facial recognition, satellite tracking and edge AI analytics.

“The PlanetSpark Innovation Centre is a welcome addition to Singapore’s vibrant technology and innovation ecosystem. It brings ideas, people and networks together to scale innovative AIoT solutions to market and provides enterprises with the necessary resources to build capabilities and drive the development of innovative AIoT solutions. This is important as demand for such solutions is expected to grow in tandem with the region’s emergence of smart homes, cities and industries,” said Satvinder Singh, assistant chief executive officer of Enterprise Singapore.

Meanwhile, Phuay Li Ying, managing director of PlanetSpark said, “Our role as a technology validator will also provide an indication of the potential of the startups for venture capital firms, which plays a key role in the success of a startup. Our ultimate objective is to have a collaborative hardware ecosystem where such start-ups can accelerate their growth and commercialization plans, attract venture capital funding and create new possibilities for local technology innovations and economic growth.”