Small and medium businesses (or enterprises) start off as proprietors or a handful of people that band together around an idea. We sometimes refer to these as mom and pop ventures – a colloquial term that dates back to the 1700s – started by parents with an inkling to run a business.
But whereas our parents’ mom and pop stores focused on the community, many of today’s entrepreneurs are far more ambitious – most of them anyway – when it comes to reach. To their advantage, they have the internet and a growing ecosystem of platforms to tap as they look to shape their ideas into a viable business venture.
One such platform is The FinLab Online, a digital platform created to help SMEs across ASEAN transform their business digitally a digital platform to help small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups across ASEAN implement digital solutions to transform their businesses.
SMEs will be able to tap the expertise of industry mentors through video tutorials and webinars, as well as sign up for The FinLab Online Programme to get a free self-assessment of their technology needs to be based on The FinLab’s proprietary business analysis tools. They will then be guided on digitalisation strategies and solutions to address immediate business challenges and be matched with relevant technology solution providers.
For SMEs that may not be aware, many of the digital startups today rely on others to help them get off the ground, including cloud service providers, incubators and accelerators for ideas and seed capital, and even other start-ups who may have a unique skillset or solution that could help accelerate them going to market.
It is not enough to have a unique idea. Sometimes what is more important is getting to market fast and staying ahead of the me-too market – the unfortunate by product of today’s digital culture.
“Digital adoption is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and there is a clear demand for tailored, actionable support for SMEs and start-ups to take charge of their business growth journey,” said Pauline Sim, Co-Head, The FinLab.
She acknowledged that The FinLab Online leverages United Overseas Bank’s (UOB) network and close to 85 years of experience operating in ASEAN to provide the community with expertise,
knowledge and connections.
One of the chief challenges of startups today is the ability to scale. The FinLab hopes to bridge this chasm through the platform.