SINGAPORE (March 13): SMEs in the retail and F&B sectors can now equip their staff with digital skills at heavily subsidised courses offered at local polytechnics.

In an announcement made on Monday, Singtel, in partnership with Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) – Singapore Institute of Retail Studies (SIRS) and Singapore Polytechnic (SP), now offers SMEs subsidies of up to 90% on courses that teach employees digital skills.

These include tools and resources to get online, establish e-commerce capabilities and to market themselves more effectively using digital marketing solutions such as search engine optimisation and search engine marketing.

SMEs can also seek additional support on social media marketing, online merchandising and analysis of online consumers from students and lecturers at the NYP-SIRS Customer Experience and Analytics Centre.

Meanwhile, students of SP will advise F&B owners on ways to better showcase their offerings on the 99% SME website (, and guide them to adopt Singtel’s Connected Restaurant solution.

Andrew Lim, managing director, Business Group, Group Enterprise at Singtel, says this partnership with NYP and SP has three goals.

“First, it helps SMEs improve productivity, reduce costs, gain new revenue and scale their businesses. Second, PMETs are being re-skilled and re-employed while using their skills to help SMEs in their digital journey,” he said.

“Third, the students will acquire deep skills and develop entrepreneurial spirit, which prime them for their career development in the digital field.”

Singtel, together with DBS and other partners, launched the inaugural 99% SME campaign in 2015 to encourage the use of products and services offered by SMEs. It culminates in the annual SME Week in October where participating SMEs give customers special offers.

(See also: Singtel partners Lazada Singapore to launch 99% SME e-marketplace)

Last week, Singtel and Lazada also announced the launch of 99% SME e-marketplace – a dedicated portal hosted on Lazada Singapore’s website for SMEs to advertise their offerings and tap on their online customer base.