News Releases

Singtel partners polytechnics to build up SMEs' digital capabilities

Nanyang Polytechnic and Singapore Polytechnic enrolled as part of 99% SME movement to help SMEs in the retail and F&B sectors digitise their business 

Singapore, 13 March 2017
– Singtel today announced another initiative to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore thrive in the digital economy. It has partnered Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) - Singapore Institute of Retail Studies (SIRS) and Singapore Polytechnic (SP) to empower SMEs in the retail and food and beverage sectors to be digitally savvy. The partnerships augment the 99% SME initiative by training SMEs to use tools and resources to get online, establish e-commerce capabilities and to market themselves more effectively.


Singtel will tie-up with NYP’s SIRS to help SMEs hire “Digital Professionals” who will guide the SMEs on adopting e-commerce, retail analytics and using digital marketing solutions such as Search Engine Optimisation and Search Engine Marketing. These Digital Professionals comprise professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) who have been re-skilled. SMEs which sign up for this scheme will enjoy government subsidies of up to 90%. SMEs can also seek additional support on social media marketing, online merchandising and analysis of online consumers from students and lecturers at the NYP’s Customer Experience and Analytics Centre.


Students of SP will advise Food and Beverage (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. This solution, which includes an online reservation and pick up service, allows owners to develop a new revenue source while attaining operational efficiencies. Based on the customer behavioural data obtained by this solution, the students will also offer recommendations to enhance the positioning of the owners’ products and promotions.  


Mr Andrew Lim, Managing Director, Business Group, Group Enterprise at Singtel said, “We are excited to engage institutes of higher learning to give SMEs a boost in their digital journeys. Through the 99% SME movement, our collaboration with Nanyang Polytechnic and the Singapore Institute of Retail Studies are three-fold. 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. Third, the students will acquire deep skills and develop entrepreneurial spirit, which prime them for their career development in the digital field.


“As food plays an important part in Singaporeans’ lives, our tie-up with Singapore Polytechnic is a boost to the F&B sector. The polytechnic’s students can come up with marketing content to help F&B operators to differentiate themselves effectively and reach out to more online customers. Helping our SMEs to digitise their businesses is a major initiative in the Committee on the Future Economy Report.  We look forward to partnering the other polytechnics to empower many of our SMEs with digital know-how and solutions, strengthening an essential component of Singapore’s economy,” he added.


“We are happy to extend our expertise and help Singapore’s businesses take advantage of the digital revolution. We are confident this collaboration with Singtel will help raise the capabilities of SME retailers in adapting to the fast changing retail landscape and establishing a global presence,” said Ms Jeanne Liew, Principal and Chief Executive Officer of Nanyang Polytechnic.


Mr Soh Wai Wah, Principal and Chief Executive Officer of Singapore Polytechnic said, “We have put in place an integrated team of students from Business, Information Technology and Communications disciplines to support the 99% SME initiative. The team will develop a full suite of solutions to help enhance the local F&B operators’ digital and marketing capabilities. This collaboration will not only enable the SMEs to stay competitive, it also provides a learning platform for our students to apply their skill-sets.”


Singtel, together with DBS and other partners, launched the inaugural 99% SME campaign in 2015 to rally all in Singapore to use products and services offered by SMEs. The highlight of the SME campaign is the annual SME Week in October where participating SMEs give customers special offers.


Last week, Singtel and Lazada 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 a wider online customer base.