Initiatives incoming to help SMEs scale business overseas

Photo by Tara Winstead

DBS and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) are collaborating on initiatives to help Singapore’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) scale their businesses overseas in the new normal and seize emerging opportunities in the APAC region.

Under the agreement, NTU and DBS will offer the national Enterprise Leadership for Transformation (ELT) programme, in partnership with Enterprise Singapore. The programme aims to support business leaders of promising SMEs to develop business growth capabilities and entrepreneurship skills relevant for expanding their businesses overseas.

The collaboration aims to leverage the respective strengths and areas of expertise of both partners to deliver relevant insights and thought leadership pieces tailored to SMEs on internationalisation and innovation.

DBS and NTU also aim to organise overseas immersion programmes when the situation allows to plug SMEs into the broader regional business ecosystems, with a focus on four business corridors, but not limited to, Singapore-Hong Kong; Singapore-China; Singapore-India; and China-Hong Kong.

SMEs will also benefit from the expertise in internationalisation and innovation offered by DBS and NTU.

Joyce Tee, Group Head of SME Banking at DBS, said: “SMEs in Singapore are becoming increasingly hungry to seize new growth opportunities brought about by digital innovation and regional connectivity.

“With this partnership, both DBS and NTU will leverage each other’s strengths to create a supportive ecosystem that enables SMEs to capitalise on the twin trends of internationalisation and innovation and propel them to the next stage of growth.

“We know that our SMEs have what it takes to do well internationally, so our aim is to avail different avenues to support SMEs’ aspirations to spread their wings overseas. SMEs are critical to Singapore’s economic vitality, and we firmly believe that when SMEs do well, Singapore will do well.”

Professor Lam Kwok Yan, Director of Nanyang Technopreneurship Center at NTU, said: “The partnership between NTU, Enterprise Singapore and DBS will help empower Singapore’s promising SME business leaders to transform their companies with innovative and actionable business growth plans. 

“Apart from building capabilities, this one-year programme also offers valuable opportunities for enterprise leaders to tap into our strong local and global entrepreneurship and innovation networks to achieve greater success in their businesses.”

Equipping SME leaders with new capabilities

The inaugural cycle of the Enterprise Leadership for Transformation (ELT) programme by NTU and DBS will be offered in October 2021. Specially tailored to support local enterprises looking to internationalise, the programme will adopt an entrepreneur-centric experiential approach, with participants guided towards developing an actionable business transformation plan by the end of the programme.

Modules will be taught by faculty and instructors from NTU, with senior leaders from DBS supplementing the learning experience with industry perspectives and innovation insights through workshops, fireside chats, mentorship, and networking.

About 30 Singapore SME leaders from a wide spectrum of industries are expected to participate in the 2021 cycle.