SINGAPORE (July 31): In conjunction with the expansion of its Go Global initiative to Singapore, Google has committed to train 2,500 local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in digital technologies, by 2019.

The Go Global initiative was first started in 2015, and was designed to help local brands tap into the global market.

In Singapore, it aims to leverage the city state’s traditional role as an export hub, and help drive exports for SMEs by getting them online.

The programme includes training tools and resources such as dedicated marketing consultants trained to advise on growing through online campaigns and developing e-commerce capabilities, as well as master classes conducted by Google and partner agencies on how to grow a digital presence.

Google is also partnering with National Trade Union Congress (NTUC) and Singapore Infocomm Technology Federation (SiTF) in its outreach efforts, introducing its programme to a combined 13,650 member companies.

These trade bodies will also serve as an avenue of feedback to enhance support for SMEs.

“We’ve seen great traction with our efforts with Go Global since its launch and we want to go even bigger this year to provide more help for SMEs to fulfil their dreams of becoming recognised brands at home and abroad. Whether it’s taking their first step online or exploring new markets, we hope the programmes will help SMEs take their businesses to greater heights,” says Gilberto Gaeta, head of Google marketing solutions for Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and emerging markets.

Yeo Guat Kwang, assistant director-general, NTUC, observes that many SMEs engaged by U SME have shown a keen interest to leverage technology, train their workforce, as well as expand to attain digital capabilities and tap on technology to be global-ready.

U SME is NTUC’s initiative to engage and support SME business leaders.

“SMEs are important to our nation as they account for 99% of our companies and employ 70% of the workforce. Singapore is a small market. Therefore, going regional and global is necessary in order for our businesses to thrive. We believe companies can leverage on digital technologies in Google’s Go Global program to expand their outreach in their internationalisation efforts,” adds Ho Semun, executive director, SiTF.

Mervyn Koh, managing director and country head of business banking, Singapore, UOB, observes that many SMEs are already digitalising parts of their business to participate in the global digital economy.

According to him, the number of SMEs using digital banking solutions to manage their day-to-day banking needs online have grown by 38%.

“The more comfortable SMEs are with using technology, the more they will see the benefits of using digital means to seize business opportunities and to grow their business. The Go Global initiative is important as it provides business owners with knowledge on how they can use digital solutions to take advantage of export opportunities,” says Koh.