Google, UOB aim to train SMEs to use digital tools for business issues

GOOGLE and UOB on Monday announced a programme that aims to train 400 business leaders of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in using digital tools to solve business issues.

The programme, SME Leadership Academy, is free of charge, according to Google. Training takes up a total of 1.5 days and involves interactive discussions and lessons led by business leaders from Google, UOB and other enterprises. 

SMEs can learn how to implement data-driven human resource strategies, including best practices on organisational culture, hiring and leading teams. Other focus areas include developing digital marketing strategies based on consumer and industry insights, and using enterprise software and tools to boost productivity.

Google and UOB will run a cohort every quarter, starting from Aug 13, till end 2020. Each cohort will have 50 participants. The goal is to train 400 SME business leaders by the end of next year.   

The programme was developed based on feedback from over 100 businesses who had taken part in the programme when it was piloted in April. They come from various industries such as retail, F&B, engineering, manufacturing and travel. 
Stephanie Davis, Google’s managing director for South-east Asia, called SMEs the "bedrock" of Singapore’s economy and said helping them succeed is “paramount to building a bright future in the digital economy”. 

Frederick Chin, UOB's head of group wholesale banking and markets, noted that technology is a "critical enabler" for companies large and small in today's business environment.

"Through the SME Leadership Academy, we hope that SMEs will be able to gain the necessary skills and expertise to use technology to improve their performance and to provide a better customer experience," Mr Chin said.

The programme is supported by Digital Industry Singapore and SkillsFuture Singapore. Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing was the guest of honour at the launch on Monday.