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Digitalisation 'important way forward' for SMEs: Sim Ann

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Digitalisation is an "important way forward" for Singapore's small and medium enterprises (SMEs), said Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Sim Ann on Wednesday.

DIGITALISATION is an "important way forward" for Singapore's small and medium enterprises (SMEs), said Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Sim Ann on Wednesday.

She was speaking at the SME Centre Conference 2017 held at Singapore Expo's Max Atria.

Ms Sim, who is also Senior Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth, said digital technology helps SMEs in several ways.

First, it enables them to grow by enhancing productivity and innovation, and transforming their business models. Secondly, it allows them to globalise.

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"Through digitalisation, SMEs are able to reach new customers anywhere in the world. Even the smallest company is able to access overseas markets through e-commerce, and attract new customers online," she said.

Ms Sim reiterated the message that the government will support SMEs in their digitalisation journey.

The SME Centres, which offer free one-to-one consultation sessions, will remain the first touchpoints for SMEs, she said. They would be able to select off-the-shelf technology solutions pre-qualified by the Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA) to meet their business needs.

SMEs with more advanced requirements in areas such as cybersecurity and data analytics can receive specialised assistance at the SME Digital Tech Hub, which will open its doors in the third quarter of 2017.

Advisers at the SME Digital Tech Hub will help SMEs identify appropriate solutions and guide them on changing their business processes to take full advantage of the technologies, she said.

She also announced that government agency Spring Singapore expects to unveil the Tech Depot, an expansion of the SME Tech Portal, in the second quarter of this year.

It is a centralised listing of ready-to-go technology packages from A*Star, and digital solutions pre-qualified by IMDA. The solutions will help SMEs to improve processes such as supply chain management, and inventory and asset tracking.

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