Singtel has announced a community care package to foster digital inclusion and close the digital gaps that have become pronounced since the onset of COVID-19. This comes in the form of a S$3million digitalisation initiative that is aimed at two groups – senior citizens and traditional SMEs, which have found it particularly challenging to go digital in recent months.
On the SME front, Singtel will launch the “Let’s Get Digital” initiative to help SMEs accelerate their digital transformation. Backed by more than S$2 million in investment in technological platforms and expertise, over 6,000 SMEs will get support in the form of digital consultations, solutions and grants to help them adapt to the fast changing digital economy.
Ms Chua Sock Koong, Singtel’s Group CEO, said, “The pandemic has seen a nationwide rush online but some sectors of society are still playing catch-up, perhaps none more so than the older generation, many of whom may not have access to digital devices like a smart phone nor high-speed internet connections.”
SMEs without a digital presence have also found it challenging to shift their operations and transactions online. We hope that our digital inclusion initiative will help more seniors plug in and achieve a sense of autonomy and better quality of life. We also hope to give SMEs, the bedrock of our economy, a hand in starting their digitalisation and innovation journeys.”
Embracing digital payments in daily life
Singtel is teaming up with various government agencies on programmes to encourage the adoption of digital payments. Together with IMDA, Singtel volunteers will conduct digital payment workshops that cover payment terminology, payment wallet options and online safety to help seniors overcome their anxieties about new payment technologies.
There will also be hands-on sessions at supermarkets and hawker centres to familiarise seniors with making cashless payments for daily necessities and food.
In line with the government’s initiative to roll out digital payment capabilities across hawker centres and markets, Singtel will run campaigns to encourage the public to embrace digital payments as a safe payment option when dining at hawkers and coffee shops and at the same time, also accustom hawkers to accept contactless payment options.
Giving SMEs the confidence to go digital
A recent study by Singtel found that seven in 10 SMEs in Singapore are planning to expand their business in the next three years and 89% see investment in technology as a way to improve their competitiveness and sustainability, despite lowered revenue expectations in 2020 due to COVID-19.
However, the study also found that SMEs have not acted on their digitalisation plans as they are intimidated by the prospect of investment costs (44%), upskilling and training staff (38%) and implementing and maintaining new systems (30%).
To address these concerns and help SMEs take that first step towards business transformation, Singtel is introducing the “Let’s Get Digital” initiative to guide them through the process of digitalisation.
Open to all SMEs in Singapore for an initial one-year period, SMEs can seek advice on how to select and implement suitable digital solutions based on their requirements. They will also have access to many other Singtel resources such as monthly webinars and one-on-one digital clinics as well as business grants from government for digital solutions.
Ms Chua added, “We understand why SMEs have hesitated about going digital. The lack of know-how and questions over implementation and costs may seem daunting but it’s critical they take the first step as the shift towards digital tools and channels that we have seen among consumers will be here to stay even post-COVID.
“We want to give them the confidence to make the pivot, so their businesses can emerge more agile, efficient and better positioned for the digital economy,” he concluded.