GlobalConnect@SBF reports 15 successful overseas ventures

Mindy Tan
Published Fri, Feb 19, 2021 · 01:00 PM

THE Singapore Business Federation (SBF) has, through its GlobalConnect@SBF programme, successfully facilitated 15 projects by Singapore businesses in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, the US and Turkey since the programme was launched in November 2019.

The business federation has also reached out to 2,500 companies and provided more than 900 specific market advisories, said Darius Lim, assistant chief executive officer, Global Business, at SBF.

"It's just the first year, and we intend to scale this up quite rapidly," said Mr Lim. "We expect to see this number easily double in the second year."

GlobalConnect@SBF was set up by SBF in partnership with Enterprise Singapore to support companies on their expansion plans. Its focus is on Asean, frontier and emerging markets, FTA (free trade agreement) education and outreach, and markets along the Belt and Road.

One of the companies that the programme has helped is Kew Organics. The organic skincare company had identified Vietnam, Indonesia and the Middle East as markets of interest before getting in touch with GlobalConnect@SBF.

The team at GlobalConnect provided them with advice relating to consumer patterns, disposable income, potential cities for business development and effective distribution channels and subsequently introduced Kew Organics to a distributor in Hanoi.

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This distributor introduced Kew Organics to a closed group of influential women with marketing events in the pipeline and got their products placed in a retail space with an identical brand concept.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) has been signed between the distributor and Kew Organics for a trial period of six months to study the market acceptance of their products.

"What makes GlobalConnect very different from almost any other programme that exists today is that the success of the programme is tied to the commercial success of our Singapore companies. It's not just about business matching or bringing the company to the market," said Mr Lim.

Depending on the company's intent, these "hard KPIs (key performance indicators)" can be measured based on whether or not the Singaporean company makes an investment, does a joint-venture MOU with a target company, or locates a franchisee.

Another example of a successful collaboration saw GlobalConnect@SBF and the Singapore Food Manufacturing Association (SFMA) embark on a pilot market entry initiative that has helped 12 Singapore food manufacturers successfully place their 52 local food products in the Vietnamese market.

The products were packaged into limited-edition Singapore food hampers and sold at supermarkets in Vietnam during the festive holidays.

GlobalConnect@SBF conducted business clinics on Vietnam for SFMA's food manufacturers and SBF's country head for Vietnam also reached out to Singapore companies based in Vietnam to partner them for this initiative.

SBF noted that their local staff in Ho Chi Minh City were instrumental in enabling the effective implementation of the hamper initiative, helping with coordination of the logistics, marketing and promotion of the hampers with their Vietnamese partners.

Notably, SBF has set up two overseas offices to support this programme; this is the first time SBF has set up overseas offices. They are located in Jakarta, Indonesia; and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

These offices provide two main forms of services: deal advisory which includes deal origination and facilitation, as well as business matching and in-market support.

To that end, SBF signed two strategic partnership agreements with UOB and Keppel Land under the GlobalConnect@SBF Strategic Partnerships platform on Friday.

The partnership between SBF and UOB will grant businesses access to UOB's Foreign Direct Investment Advisory Unit's network of 10 FDI (foreign direct investment) centres, providing them with better trade and investment opportunities. The partnership with Keppel Land on the other hand will provide Singapore businesses with instant landing points through KLOUD serviced co-working spaces overseas.

The event was witnessed by Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, who graced the "GlobalConnect@SBF Showcase" at SBF Centre on Friday.


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