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SME Featured Southeast Asia

NTUC U SME launches new savings, benefits initiative for SME partners

Singapore – ​NTUC U SME, the NTUC unit that seeks to support SMEs in their business needs, has recently launched a new initiative called ‘NTUC In Your Workplace’, to help bring additional personalized benefits worth up to S$2,300 per worker into the SMEs’ workplaces.

‘NTUC In Your Workplace’ is NTUC U SME’s first foray into equipping and supporting local SME businesses and workforce by tapping on the products and services of the NTUC Social Enterprises (SEs) and partners. Eligible partner SMEs will be able to provide attractive savings and benefits to ensure that their workers’ daily needs and livelihood are covered. This is in line with NTUC U SME’s key focus to support the SMEs and enhance the lives of their workers.

The new initiative will be made available to eligible NTUC U SME partners to help them innovate the way they manage their workforce’s health and well-being. As the first SME recipient of the initiative, 60 workers will enjoy up to S$140,000 worth of total savings and benefits per year, which is inclusive of total NTUC Membership savings. This ranges from daily grocery savings to personal training, family care support, and support from the NTUC Membership savings, as well as the company’s regular staff benefits.

To participate in the initiative, the partner SME will have to achieve at least 80% NTUC membership coverage of its workforce and attain NTUC U SME’s 3B criteria – Better Workplace, Better Worker, and Better Job (Annex A). Currently, 10% of 400 partners SMEs have been assessed to be eligible for this initiative and NTUC U SME will be working with more SMEs to help them achieve the 3B criteria to ultimately bring better welfare, savings, and benefits to SME workers.

By achieving the 3Bs, eligible SMEs will be enjoying savings such as a sponsored refrigerator with pantry snacks from NTUC FairPrice, a free online learning LHUBGO account with more than 75,000 online courses, and complimentary trials at NTUC Health Senior Care Centers for staff, who require assistance for respite care. This is on top of the benefits that workers will be enjoying when they sign up for the NTUC Membership. 

“As NTUC’s representative to support local SMEs and their workers, NTUC U SME has come a long way in its engagement of SMEs and introducing win-win initiatives that will give partner SMEs an added support to hiring and retaining workers; and help SME workers enjoy better work prospects. I am pleased to share that NTUC U SME has surpassed their 400 SME goal and is on track to reach 500 by the end of 2021,” said Chee Meng Ng, secretary-general of NTUC.

Meanwhile, Wan Ling Yeo, NTUC’s director for U SME, commented that they are delighted to bring ‘NTUC In Your Workplace’ to their partner SMEs as this initiative will serve as a big support for them and help create ‘happy’ and ‘resilient’ SME workers. 

“As one of Singapore’s oldest manufacturers of local breakfast and snack delights, Lim Kee has worked with NTUC U SME to transform their staff welfare and business marketing needs to meet the demands of the market. With their positive feedback on this initiative, we look forward to helping more partner SMEs and their workers,” said Yeo.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

NTUC LHUB teams up with NTUC U SME, The FinLab, NP to launch ‘Reboot’ program for SMEs

Singapore – Singapore’s national confederation of trade unions, National Trades Union Congress LearningHub (NTUC LHUB), has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with its initiative NTUC U SME, United Overseas Bank (UOB)’s innovation accelerator The FinLab, and Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) to officially launch the SME Digital Reboot program.

The program seeks to help 500 companies nationwide in enhancing their digital capabilities by the end of 2022, to help them stay relevant and competitive in a transformed business landscape.

The MOU sees NTUC U SME to initially leverage their broad network of Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and associations to boost outreach efforts. Then, with The FinLab’s expertise in supporting ASEAN SMEs with their business transformation journeys, the organization will provide companies the access to a range of digital resources and tools on The FinLab Online, which was designed to help SMEs to understand their business needs and to determine a sustainable digitalization strategy. 

Furthermore, NTUC LHUB and NP will provide training across five tracks including Digital Communication and Collaboration, Workflow Automation, Process Automation, Data Processes and Visualisation, and Digital Marketing. And lastly, to ensure that the learning can be applied effectively, the program includes on-ground implementation support through workplace learning sessions by NP lecturers, graduates, and students. .

The SME Digital Reboot program applies to companies of all sizes but will mainly focus on SMEs. As companies employ over two-thirds of the nation’s workforce, SMEs can contribute an estimated half of Singapore’s Gross Domestic Product. 

As the pandemic forced businesses to shift to online, many SMEs think of digital transformation as an exclusive measure that only larger companies can afford. Through the SME Digital Reboot, the parties aim to create a mindset shift in SME employers. The program can provide an upskilling for SME employees and help SMEs create sustainable business tools for them to adapt to changes. 

The program can also help synergize the unique strengths of key partners to uplift companies to keep pace with the age of digitalization. This will be done through an end-to-end solution covering needs assessment, curated training programs, and workplace learning sessions.

During a pilot program, 40 companies have benefited from the ‘reboot’, turning digital disruption into digital assistance in their businesses. A key group that benefited from the pilot is the Association of Employment Agencies Singapore (AEAS), which is the only industry association that represents employment agencies in the country. Under the program, AEAS members were offered employment advisory for training, training courses for workers, and the right tools to kickstart their digital transformation.

Chairman of NTUC LHUB, Eugene Wong, said that SMEs are key engines of the economy, yet 40% of SMEs surveyed cited the lack of support and expertise as barriers to digitalization.

“The strategic partnership with The FinLab and Ngee Ann Polytechnic to roll out a structured SME Digital Reboot program will empower organizations to take the first step in their digital transformation strategy by building in-demand skills to navigate towards digital success. NTUC LHUB endeavors to continue expanding our ecosystem of partners to transform workers for a transformed future,” said Wong.

Meanwhile, Yeo Wan Ling, director of NTUC U SME, said that NTUC U SME is committed to providing targeted assistance to their partner SMEs, to help their workers upskill and their company transforms digitally to adapt in the post-COVID-19 world. 

“SMEs are one of the key pillars of Singapore’s economy employing a large portion of Singapore’s workforce. With the added boost from the recent Singapore Budget 2021, I hope to engage more companies and associations like the Employment Agencies (Singapore) to help them innovate and enhance their productivity,” said Yeo.

Janet Young, co-founder and director of The FinLab, further commented, “To do [the program], we are tapping the experience of NTUC LHUB, NTUC U SME, and Ngee Ann Polytechnic together with UOB’s expertise and The FinLab’s suite of digital resources and community of industry experts to provide SMEs the guidance they need to digitize sustainably. Drawing on UOB’s extensive SME network in Singapore and ASEAN, we will continue to broaden our reach to help more companies benefit through the SME Digital Reboot program.”

And finally, Clarence Ti, the principal of Ngee Ann Polytechnic, commented, “To ensure effective implementation of digital solutions, NP has adapted the training pedagogy in the form of use-case playbooks and best practices. NP is also looking forward to offering post-training consultation and guidance to help SMEs roll out their digital solutions smoothly. Being part of the SME digitalization journey not only presents a great opportunity for our staff, students, and alumni to contribute our expertise but also allows us to build up additional use cases to further enhance our training programs in this area.”


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