Prudential Singapore boosts support for SMEs in their digitalisation efforts and business growth
Trainings on digitalisation and cyber security to help SMEs in their business transformation
Husks Green’s Managing Director, Mr Phang Siang Yang (right), his colleague Ms Ee Swee Moi (left) and Ngee Ann Polytechnic intern Mr Marcus Soo (middle), taking photos of their products to be used on the company’s social media pages. As part of his internship, Mr Soo will be supporting the development of Husks Green’s roadmap for 2022, including social media marketing and digital commerce.
Singapore, 3 January 2022 – Prudential Singapore (“Prudential”) has partnered Ngee Ann Polytechnic (“Ngee Ann Poly”) and ST Engineering to equip small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with the knowledge and resources on how to go digital in a safe and secure manner.
The support includes a digital commerce playbook launched in collaboration with Ngee Ann Poly in September 2021 to help SMEs kickstart their digital journey. The playbook is customised to the individual SME’s business needs and was developed together with students from the Ngee Ann Poly School of Business & Accountancy who specialise in Business Digitalisation. With ST Engineering, Prudential is offering trainings to improve SMEs’ cybersecurity awareness so they can better safeguard their business.
Mr Goh Theng Kiat, Chief Customer Officer, Prudential Singapore, said digitalisation is important for businesses to better engage their employees and customers, as well as optimise processes.
“SMEs recognise that going digital is not just about being future-ready but a matter of survival in the current pandemic. To support SMEs through this challenging time, we are collaborating with different industry players to empower them with knowledge, experience and tools, to accelerate their digital transformation so they can stay relevant to their customers,” said Mr Goh.
SMEs are a large part of the Singapore economy, accounting for 99 per cent of businesses in Singapore and employing 70 per cent of the workforce. 1However, SMEs often lack access to the resources they need to transform their businesses. According to the SME Digital Transformation Study2 involving a poll of 400 SMEs, 56 per cent of SMEs surveyed said it was too expensive to digitalise due to high implementation costs. More than half (54 per cent) said the Covid-19 pandemic had slowed their digital transformation plans. They also cited the lack of employees with digital skills as a challenge they faced.
Thriving in a digital world
The pilot run of the Prudential-Ngee Ann Poly’s digital commerce playbook commenced in September 2021 with 30 SME participants. They completed the training programme in October 2021. As part of this engagement, students from Ngee Ann Poly were assigned to participating SMEs to provide practical help on the use of digital technologies that best meet their business needs. For example, some students guided the SMEs on how to create compelling content for use on social media as well as supported with chatbot development for the SME’s website. This playbook is available to all SMEs including non-Prudential customers.
Husks Green, a SME that transforms rice husks into tableware and kitchenware, benefitted from the collaboration with Ngee Ann Poly.
Mr Phang Siang Yang, Managing Director, Husks Green International Pte Ltd, said: “The pandemic has highlighted the importance of engaging our customers through digital channels. We’re thankful for the support from the students in helping us understand how our company can strengthen our social media presence. The playbook that they shared has also given us greater confidence to do more in the area of social media as we plan our roadmap for the year ahead.”
Ensuring cybersecurity for SMEs
As SMEs accelerate their efforts to go online, they need to ensure their business operations are safe and secure from cyber threats. Prudential collaborated with ST Engineering to offer
SMEs relevant trainings and customised solutions to monitor and counter cyberattacks to keep their data safe.
Cyber threats are everywhere in a highly connected world, with global losses from cybercrime estimated at nearly $1 trillion in 20203. Digital transformation may also open doors to new risks that companies may not be prepared for. SMEs are especially vulnerable due to a lack of resources or expertise in cybersecurity. According to the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA), almost 40 per cent of cyber-attacks in Singapore in 2017 involved businesses, particularly SMEs4.
Mr Goh Eng Choon, President of Cyber at ST Engineering, said: “The collaboration between ST Engineering and Prudential will empower the SMEs, equipping them with the knowledge and resources to elevate their cybersecurity readiness. We draw upon our deep cybersecurity competencies to provide robust and latest technologies, solutions and services to enhance their cyber resilience.”
Greater access to co-working spaces
Recognising that ways of working and office spaces have evolved post the pandemic, Prudential has also partnered Switch to provide SMEs with access to co-working space of various kinds at competitive rates. As more businesses are adopting hybrid work arrangements, SMEs can also tap on the co-working space on an ad-hoc basis instead of having a physical office space. This arrangement will provide them with flexibility and cost savings.
Mr David Zhao, Vice President, Go-to-Market, Switch Singapore, said: "The nature of work has changed for everyone since the pandemic. We are glad to be partnering Prudential to bring hybrid workspace solutions to more SMEs and to empower them with the ability to work from anywhere and grow their business.”
Building a strong network of partners to support SMEs’ growth
These initiatives are part of Prudential’s ongoing support as a SkillsFuture Queen Bee5 to scale up skills development for the SME community. In October 2020, the company launched the SME Skills Accelerator programme to equip SMEs with the skills and resources to grow and innovate, upskill their employees, and improve employee retention. It is a collaboration between Prudential and SkillsFuture Singapore, under the SkillsFuture Queen Bee partnership.
Prudential will continue to grow its SME ecosystem of partners to support SMEs’ business growth and cater to the evolving needs of SMEs in Singapore.
For more information or to sign up for the above programmes, please email email@example.com or WhatsApp +65 9732 3563.
- The End -
2The survey is by the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (ASME) and Microsoft - Over 80% of Singapore SMEs embrace digital transformation; more than half report slowdowns due to COVID-19: ASME-Microsoft study 2020
5SkillsFuture Queen Bee companies refer to anchor companies, industry leaders that are recognised for their expertise, have extensive business networks and deep sectoral knowledge, and can influence and support other enterprises particularly SMEs, to scale up skills development efforts and extend the reach of the SkillsFuture movement.
About Prudential Assurance Company Singapore (Pte) Ltd (Prudential Singapore)
Prudential Assurance Company Singapore (Pte) Ltd is one of the top life insurance companies in Singapore, serving the financial and protection needs of the country’s citizens for 90 years. The company has an AA- Financial Strength Rating from leading credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s, with S$49.3 billion funds under management as at 31 December 2020. It delivers a suite of well-rounded product offerings in Protection, Savings and Investment through multiple distribution channels including a network of more than 5,000 financial consultants.