Thai SMEs turns to technology to boost business. Souce: Shutterstock

Thai SMEs turns to technology to boost business. Souce: Shutterstock

Thai SMEs to get accelerated tech boost from Singapore’s UOB

ABOUT a third of Thailand’s working population is employed by the three million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that make up 99.7 percent of Thai businesses.

The health of SMEs, therefore, has a direct impact on the country’s economic growth.

Thailand is pivoting towards digital transformation under its new 20-year economic model, reinforcing the importance of technology for growth.

UOB has recently spotted the potential that the country has in terms of digital growth, and is working on helping Thai enterprises transform digitally via its accelerator. The company is set to spend at least THB 10 million (US$313,800) on Thai SMEs.

Only 10 to 15 SMEs out of the 400 and counting sign-ups will be selected for the digital transformation programme. The three-month programme agenda will cover workshops such as digital marketing as well as change management.

With the expertise from UOB, SMEs will also be matched to their relevant digital solutions.

Singapore’s UOB is looking to help SMEs in food and beverage, fast-moving consumer goods, construction, logistics, retail, wholesale, and travel industries.

MD of the UOB Accelerator, Felix Tan identified these industries to be experiencing the most disruption.

As new technologies sweep across all industries, companies that fail to adopt digital solutions will be left behind. More SMEs are turning to technology to boost day-to-day productivity and efficiency.

“The idea behind this is if we can help SMEs start to use digital technologies and improve their work processes, revenues, and margins, they become bigger and stronger,” Tan explained.

As the programme focuses on accelerating SMEs, businesses should also have regional growth plans. It would also be ideal to have an annual turnover of 25 million baht to one billion baht.

Tan added that “[SMEs’] books will also look a lot better and that will encourage banks to extend more financial services to help them grow.”

The accelerator programme will be conducted in collaboration with UOB (Thai), the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA), National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) and the Office of SMEs Promotion (OSMEP).

According to a survey, slightly more than half of Thai SMEs said that they want to use digital marketing to grow sales.

However, concerns about costs and complexities of implementing digital solutions follow. Thai SMEs are a significant portion of the country’s economy.

What enterprises need to understand is that digitization is happening regardless of costs and complexities. However, the late adoption of digital solutions will eventually cost more and incur more problems.