Digital is the common threat driving growth for SMEs according to Enterprise Singapore. Source: Shutterstock

Digital is the common threat driving growth for SMEs according to Enterprise Singapore. Source: Shutterstock

Why Enterprise Singapore is using technology to drive SMEs forward

SINGAPORE is constantly pushing the boundaries of digital to help domestic enterprises thrive at home and abroad.

Recently, Enterprise Singapore initiated a comprehensive review of its strategy to ensure its enterprise development efforts keep pace with the evolving and increasingly complex business landscape locally and globally. A recurring theme in that strategy was that businesses need to be digital in order to be competitive.

In order to achieve stronger, more impactful outcomes, Enterprise Singapore has decided to encourage SMEs to raise productivity, strengthen innovation capabilities, and accelerate internationalization.

While Enterprise Singapore feels raising productivity is more explicitly aligned with digital goals such as technology adoption, automation, and digitalization, innovation and internationalization are also functions of technology.

In fact, the foundations of innovation rest on the ability of companies to develop new technologies or adopt technology solutions to create their own intellectual property so that they can differentiate themselves in the marketplace.

In terms of internationalization, although the emphasis of Enterprise Singapore’s strategy is on helping domestic companies expand their overseas footprint, the idea is to use technology as a facilitator.

While many of Singapore’s SMEs are already at some stage of maturity in terms of the three areas identified by Enterprise Singapore — support from the body is expected to provide the catalyst to accelerate and catapult domestic organizations into globally competitive SMEs with a new digital DNA.

“The three areas of productivity, innovation, and internationalization are not new. But our focus and the way we are going to approach these areas will be quite different,” explained Enterprise Singapore President Peter Ong.

“We should also not see them as isolated pillars; they are mutually reinforcing. If we help create a digital imprint in our enterprises, they will not only be more productive but will also be able to scale up and internationalize faster.”

“Exposure to international markets will create more opportunities for demand-led innovation. The cycle is mutually reinforcing.”

Since Enterprise Singapore believes in adopting a long-term approach that is both balanced and holistic, it also advocates training and upskilling SME executives in order to keep pace with technological advancements.

The organization sees talent management, leadership development, and succession planning as critical areas for a company’s future growth.

Therefore, in the coming year, Enterprise Singapore will focus on strengthening the pool of leaders and growing the talent pipeline for Singapore enterprises through internships and management associate programmes.

To be fair, regulatory bodies in the country such as Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) are offering support to SMEs in order to help upgrade their digital infrastructures.

Enterprise Singapore’s new strategy looks like it is going to turbocharge the country’s efforts to accelerate digital adoption among its SMEs.