PwC says digital transformation offers SMEs opportunities to innovate and grow, significant barriers remain preventing the realization of these opportunities, and slowing the process of digitalization within this market segment.
However, COVID-19 may be stretching the ability of SMEs to not only push forward such initiatives, much less fund these efforts.
To the funding rescue
Singapore’s SGTech has launched the ‘Stronger Together, Aiding Recovery’ (STAR) fund aimed at helping tech SMEs in Singapore support the digital transformation of other SMEs.
The STAR Fund will start with S$660,000. This comprises the amount pledged to SGTech by its member Facebook, and Enterprise Singapore’s (ESG) SG Together Enhancing Enterprise Resilience (STEER) programme , which supports funds set up by industry players with the aim of helping businesses emerge stronger amid COVID-19 challenges. Under the STAR Fund, SGTech will help strengthen the capabilities of SGTech members and support the digital transformation of other SMEs in Singapore. Eligible SGTech members can apply for the fund and about 2,000 SMEs are expected to benefit from this programme.
Where its coming from
Supported by Facebook and Enterprise Singapore, the STAR Fund will assist SGTech members in training and reskilling their workforce, in order to harness new digital capabilities and/or deepen current skills; or to grow their business.
“While the onset of COVID-19 has proven to be highly disruptive to businesses, it has brought to the fore opportunities for companies to leverage on technology to insulate against some of the consequences of such a shock,” said Wong Wai Meng, SGTech chairman. “Singapore companies should continue to invest in technology to be better-positioned to take on new opportunities in the post-COVID-19 world.”
Chew Mok Lee, assistant chief executive officer, Enterprise Singapore, said “This is a good example of how industry players, such as trade associations and chambers, can quickly step up to partner the government to continue to drive industry initiatives amidst COVID-19 that will uplift fellow businesses who are affected and prepare them for the economic recovery ahead.”
SGTech will undertake ownership in the organising, administering, assessing, disbursing and reporting of activities associated with the disbursement of the STAR Fund. Eligibility will be determined by a panel of assessors consisting of Councillors and Chapter Executive Committee Members who are representatives of member companies.