Google Singapore has announced several new initiatives to support more small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in their digital transformation. These include its Google Career Certificates (GCC) scholarship programme for SMEs, supported by Enterprise Singapore (EnterpriseSG) and SGTech. For a start, both organisations will help to award 15,000 GCC scholarships to 300 local businesses.
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.
With more than 60% of SMEs being ‘digital starters’, without the right support, these businesses could lose out in the tech talent acquisition and retention race, shortening their runway for further growth. With local SMEs employing over 70% of the local workforce and contribute to over 40% of the country’s GDP, current digitalisation gaps need to be promptly addressed to ensure the continued and sustainable growth of the Singapore digital economy.
Commenting on the urgent need to provide accessible training resources to support SMEs, Ben King, Country Managing Director, 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. 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.”
New advanced Certificates in Data Analytics and Business Intelligence
With a growing number of local businesses looking to expand beyond Singapore shores, a Google and ICC report showed that 75% of surveyed micro, small-medium businesses (MSMEs) expressed an interest in leveraging digital tools and technologies to access market information. Singapore respondents also indicated that the ‘most valuable’ digital skills would be digital marketing, data analytics and information on new market opportunities.
To help employees deepen their Data Analytics and Business Intelligence skills, Google will expand its GCC and scholarship offerings to include advanced Certificates in these areas. Through the expansion of GCC and scholarships offering, Google seeks to help address the common challenges to upskilling for SMEs—such as a “lack of budget”, as identified by 1 in 2 businesses and a “lack of time”, a primary concern for 42% of employees in Singapore.
Ensuring inclusivity by empowering underrepresented businesses
In addition, Google.org, Google’s philanthropic arm, will continue its support to The Asia Foundation’s with a SGD$5.3M grant funding to extend their Go Digital ASEAN programme into its next phase. This skilling programme will train selected business owners across ASEAN in advanced-level business and digital skills, enabling them to grow their businesses.
As part of this, The Asia Foundation’s local implementing partner in Singapore, Hatch, will train 1,500 local businesses—70% owned by women or underrepresented communities. The curriculum will cover sessions on digital marketing, responsible and sustainable business practices and more.