New initiative to drive digital transformation in heartland precincts

Photo by Xavier L.

Enterprise Singapore (ESG), the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and the Heartland Enterprise Centre, Singapore (HECS) today announced that they will be driving digital transformation in heartland precincts through partnerships with curated digital solution providers.

It will first be rolled out in three precincts – Ang Mo Kio, Bedok and Clementi – where it targets to reach over 400 merchants and will subsequently be expanded to up to 10 precincts by the end of 2020. This is in line with ongoing efforts by the HECS to rejuvenate the heartland precincts.

The initiative was announced by Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry & Education, Mr Chee Hong Tat, at the Singapore Heartland Enterprise Seminar (SHES) 2020 organised by the Federation of Merchants’ Associations, Singapore (FMAS), which discussed the importance of empowering business transformation in the current economy.

Helping heartland merchants go digital

The initiative aims to address concerns from heartland merchants and various Merchant Associations on the reduced footfall to these precincts due to the lack of digital tools to engage and reach new customers. These heartland merchants also find it difficult to curate and source for suitable digital solutions at reasonable costs. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the need to go digital.

Through this initiative, merchants located in the three precincts will be able to work closely and receive guidance from ConnectUpz, DEI and Fave to implement a range of ready-to-use digital solutions such as loyalty programmes and payment methods.

They can also on-board online sales channels that are suited to their needs, depending on their current stage of digitalisation. These three solution providers were appointed following a call-for-collaboration that was launched in February 2020 by ESG, HECS and IMDA.

Mr Yeo Hiang Meng, President of FMAS and Managing Director of HECS said, “We are encouraging and strongly urge the heartland retailers as well as the F&B joints to work with the government to adapt, learn and move towards digitalisation, greater adoption of technology to improve work flow and e-payment platforms to grow their business further for the long term.”

Ms Jane Lim, Assistant Chief Executive, Sectoral Transformation Group, IMDA said, “COVID-19 has presented many challenges especially for the Food Services and Retail sectors. To help businesses, particularly traditional businesses, we worked with the industry to make digital tools and resources available to help them adapt to the changing environments and consumer trends. We are glad to collaborate with industry partners to support our SMEs to go digital and adapt to the new normal.”

Merchants of the three precincts who are keen to sign up for the initiative can do so through HECS’ website. HECS business advisors, together with the three partners, will provide 1-on-1 consultation with merchants to advise on the products suitable for them and costs involved.