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ECONOMY | Staff Reporter, Singapore

SMEs to benefit from $30m funding for digital growth under the Start Digital initiative

New firms will get a head start with with two foundational digital solutions with costs waived for a minimum of six months.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can expect to benefit from over $30m in funding over three years under the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Enterprise Singapore’s (ESG) initiative Start Digital, an announcement revealed.

Start Digital which is part of the SMEs Go Digital programme aims to give SMEs a head start with two foundational digital solutions in a bid to accelerate their growth and scalability, the parties revealed.

According to the announcement, new SMEs can select any two free foundational digital solutions from five categories of core business functions which includes accounting, human resource management & payroll, digital marketing, digital transactions and cybersecurity. SMEs will need to commit to a minimum period of 18 months of which costs for the first six months will be waived and priced affordably for the remaining period.

“The Start Digital initiative arms SMEs with digital tools right at birth at the point when they are just starting to shape their organisational DNA, develop operational processes, undertake staff training and make other business decisions,” ESG’s chairman Peter Ong said in a statement. “Starting digital will help them start right and position well for growth, resilience and productivity.”

The parties also highlighted that SMEs can approach its participating partners such as DBS, Maybank, OCBC and UOB if they wish to take up the Start Digital pack. Likewise, SMEs can also obtain support from other SMEs Go Digital initiatives when they require more advanced digital solutions, the announcement added.

Two other islandwide initiatives to accelerate digital transformation for firms were also announced by the minister for communications and information, S Iswaran, at an industry networking session. The initiatives are a nationwide e-invoicing network which will enable companies to adopt e-invoicing based on the Pan-European Public Procurement On-Line (PEPPOL) standard to increase productivity and speed up payment collection cycles, whilst the data protection trustmark (DPTM) aims to help organisations build consumer confidence in their data protection policies and practices. 

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