One-stop centres to enhance services to help SMEs

One-stop centres to enhance services to help SMEs
One initiative will involve aggregating common challenges among companies in the same trade or location, and identifying viable solutions for mass deployment, said Ms Sim Ann, the Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry.
PHOTO: ST file photo

The one-stop centres, that have been providing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with free one-on-one business advice since 2013, will enhance their services to better help companies prepare for the future.

The SME Centres will focus on helping these firms achieve their aims in the next five years through group-based upgrading projects and digital technology adoption.

One initiative will involve aggregating common challenges among companies in the same trade or location, and identifying viable solutions for mass deployment, said Ms Sim Ann, the Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry.

Ms Sim cited the SME Centre@NorthWest, which has utilised support from the North West Community Development Council to roll out space optimisation solutions for over 50 heartland retailers at the Bangkit estate in Bukit Panjang.

The SME Centres intend to implement 10 such group-based upgrading projects each year, she added.

Business advisers at SME Centres will also offer free one-to-one consultation sessions to help firms select off-the-shelf technology solutions pre-qualified by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) that meet their business needs.

SMEs with more advanced requirements, in areas like cyber security and data analytics, can receive specialised assistance at the SME Digital Tech Hub, which will open in the third quarter of this year.

SOLUTIONS

Advisers at the SME Digital Tech Hub will help them identify appropriate solutions and guide them on changing their business processes to take full advantage of the technologies, said Ms Sim, who was talking at the SME Centre Conference 2017 yesterday.

The enhancements are part of this year's Budget, which set aside $80 million for the SMEs Go Digital programme.

This will be implemented by IMDA in partnership with sector lead agencies like Spring Singapore and industry players such as trade associations and chambers.

In addition to making pre-qualified solutions available to companies, SMEs Go Digital will provide more structured and inclusive support for SMEs to build their digital capabilities in areas such as cyber security, data protection and data analytics.

yasminey@sph.com.sg

This article by The Straits Times was published in The New Paper, a free newspaper published by Singapore Press Holdings.

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