Singtel to help heritage SMEs adopt digital tech

SMBWorld Asia editors
SMBWorld Asia

Singtel is working with the Ngee Ann Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic universities to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with heritage brands adopt digital technology.

The collaborations are part of the 99%SME initiative to help SMEs use digital tools to get online, reach out to a wider customer base, and develop e-commerce capabilities.

An SME is considered to have a heritage brand if it has a compelling success story to share from a cultural or social perspective; the business should have been established for more than 30 years and passed down from the founding generation to the next.

Singtel and Ngee Ann Polytechnic will focus on helping multi-generational family-owned SMEs, including those managed by the polytechnic’s alumni members, to digitalize their operations using business analytics solutions and improve their efficiency and competitiveness.

In addition, Singtel and Temasek Polytechnic will engage SMEs in traditional businesses such as provision shops, watch shops, tailors and tea-leaf merchants to provide ideas to keep their heritage brands alive.

By leveraging digital technology, students from the polytechnic’s School of Business will guide SMEs on using the 99%SME website ( to market themselves online without cost.

“Many SMEs with a long and rich heritage do not have the resources to market themselves effectively online or connect with younger, digitally savvy customers,” Singtel managing director Group Enterprise Andrew Lim said.

“Through this partnership between the private and educational sectors, we also provide digitally-savvy students the opportunity to gain business insights and entrepreneurship experience while they help in the digitalisation journey of the SMEs,” he added.

Clarence Ti, Principal of Ngee Ann Polytechnic, said, “Ngee Ann Polytechnic is excited to collaborate with Singtel in helping second-generation family-owned SMEs digitalise their processes to gain competitive advantage and business efficiency. Leveraging our expertise, we hope to help the SMEs use business analytics to enhance their e-commerce capabilities and drive results.”

Peter Lam, Temasek Polytechnic’s Principal and Chief Executive Officer, said, “Over the years, many SMEs have created brands of enduring success and significance. This initiative provides our students with valuable real-life learning experiences that allow them to deepen their knowledge and apply their skills.”

As part of the 99%SME movement, Singtel’s partnerships with Ngee Ann Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic complement the partnerships forged with Nanyang Polytechnic and Singapore Polytechnic in March this year, to help SMEs in the retail and F&B sectors digitalise their business.

Singtel, together with DBS and other partners, launched the nationwide 99%SME movement in 2015, to rally all in Singapore to use products and services offered by SMEs. The highlight of the SME campaign is the annual SME Week in October, where participating SMEs offer special promotions to walk-in and online customers.

First published in SMBWorld Asia


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