Singapore SMEs access new overseas markets with Grow Digital

Photo by NASA

More than 500 small and medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”) in Singapore have gained access to new overseas markets digitally, through digital platforms under the Grow Digital initiative.

Sales by Singapore companies to overseas buyers using the platforms have been brisk, growing by at least 10 per cent month-on-month this year.

Under the Grow Digital initiative, a joint initiative by Enterprise Singapore (“ESG”) and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (“IMDA”) under the SMEs Go Digital programme, SMEs can get a head start in going global by tapping on established Business-to-Business (“B2B”) and Business-to-Consumer (“B2C”) e-commerce platforms.

The platforms are pre-approved by ESG and IMDA for their strong regional or global networks, complementary business services providers such as logistics and financing, proven track records and experience in operating in multiple overseas markets.

In doing so, SMEs can seize international business opportunities and diversify their revenue and market streams safely, without the need to establish an in-market physical presence.

Platforms to help businesses scale overseas

There are currently five B2B platforms and six B2C solution partners pre-approved under Grow Digital, covering major markets with good e-commerce growth in Southeast Asia such as Hong Kong, China and India.

B2B Platforms: The B2B platforms enable SMEs from sectors such as industrial hardware and machinery, chemicals, processed food, pharmaceuticals, retail, and office supplies, to provide their services and products online and reach out to clients in new markets.

B2C Platforms: The Multichannel E-commerce Platform (“MEP”) Programme will help SMEs to gain rapid entry to new markets by selling their products on multiple overseas B2C e-marketplaces through a MEP provider. In addition, SMEs will receive digital marketing support and training from the Singapore Institute of Retail Studies to operate an e-commerce business.

To provide further support for SMEs during the COVID-19 pandemic period, eligible SMEs that sign up for the MEP Programme between 1 April and 30 September 2020 will receive up to 90%2 grant support.

Ms Jane Lim, Assistant Chief Executive, Sectoral Transformation Group, IMDA said, “E-commerce is a critical enabler to help SMEs cope with challenges and shifts in consumer purchasing trends brought about by COVID-19 – shifts we expect will become the new normal.

“Through the Grow Digital initiative, we aim to help more SMEs leverage these e-commerce opportunities, and tap on the growth in overseas markets.” she added.

Ms Chew Mok Lee, Assistant Chief Executive, ICM & Digitalisation, Enterprise Singapore, said that “the Grow Digital initiative is designed for SMEs who are keen to take their first steps into new markets but may not yet have the resources to invest in establishing a physical presence there.

“To increase the success for SMEs, ESG and IMDA have specially curated the digital platforms to maximise the reach and networks across multiple countries. SMEs will also be supported by a strong network of partners so that they have the necessary digital capabilities to support their online efforts,” she continued.

“I urge SMEs to leverage Grow Digital to diversify their sources of revenue and seize new business opportunities beyond our shores,” she concluded.