The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) announced in early November the successful completion of its Business sans Borders (BSB) Phase One Proof-of-Concept (POC). MAS and IMDA will proceed with the Phase Two Pilot of the BSB in 1H 2020.
BSB is a “meta-hub” or connector of several SME-centric platforms. By connecting these different platforms, BSB helps SMEs seamlessly access a much larger ecosystem of buyers, sellers, logistics service providers, financing, and digital solution providers.
BSB utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) to enable SMEs to discover prices and sales opportunities in a larger global marketplace, access various supply chains, and easily source for and utilize relevant digital and financial solutions.
BSB sets out to reduce the complexity of domestic and cross-border business, drive intuitive awareness and adoption of digital processes, perform merit-based matching of trade and solutions and support financial inclusion and education. These address challenges SMEs face such as opaque pricing, complex supply chains, and lack of access to digital solutions.
Through the BSB, buyers and sellers, including SMEs, will have a wider choice of products and services form various platforms. This will enable SMEs to be included in global value chains and participate in cross-border trades. The platforms benefit from enhanced service offerings such as financial services and logistics to support buyers and sellers for cross border traders. Meanwhile, BSB can help governments drive their SME digitalization plans and widen procurement options.
The 9-month POC, performed in collaboration with private sector partners – GlobalLinker, Mastercard, PwC, SAP and Yellow Pages – demonstrated the technical and business feasibility of the BSB concept. It used anonymized and synthetic data from the participating platforms. SMEs were matched with potential services providers (e.g. in finance and logistics) to purchase value-added services from the BSB Digital Store3.
The POC also comprised a sandbox innovation space to identify business problem statements, facilitate access to trade data and inclusion of new services for SMEs.
The first external platform to connect to the BSB Phase One POC system is a key Philippines platform from Union Bank of Philippines and its FinTech subsidiary UBX, who signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the Singapore Fintech Festival 2019 (SFF).
Through this partnership, UBX’s SME platform Sentro, a marketplace of products and solutions, will be integrated into BSB. SMEs from Singapore and other countries participating in the BSB, which are seeking business opportunities in the Philippines, can access tools and services offered on Sentro such as an SME website builder, B2B Marketplace, logistics support, and financing thus enabling SMEs to digitize essential business functions.
The BSB MoU was signed during the Singapore Fintech Festival 2019 by UBX President John Janusczak and MAS Chief Fintech Officer Sopnendu Mohanty, and was witnessed by UnionBank Chairman Justo A. Ortiz, UnionBank President and CEO Edwin R. Bautista, Fintech Group Head Arvie de Vera, and Platforms Head Ramon Duarte.