Singapore’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can expect more from the government to transform themselves digitally to stay in business. The Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA), the government agency leading the charge, will play sector “chief information officer” to SMEs. The efforts include providing customised help from funding and consultancy to pre-qualifying tech products and participating in joint pilots. The initiatives will be available under a new scheme dubbed SMEs Go Digital Programme.
Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim told Parliament: “It will help raise SMEs’ overall level of digital readiness by giving them step-by-step advice on the technologies to use at each stage of their digital journey.” Funding for the project will be $80 million over four years from April 2017.
SMEs Go Digital aims to defray up to 70 per cent of the cost of technology purchase, capped now at $300,000 per SME. It will replace a seven-year-old iSprint scheme, which provides similar subsidies and basic tech advice. Some 8,000 SMEs have benefitted from iSprint.
SMEs Go Digital aims to be more comprehensive than iSprint by also helping SMEs with more advanced needs such as cybersecurity, data analytics and artificial intelligence through a new SME Digital Tech Hub that will be set up by September (2017).
Source: New Straits Times