To provide a wide set of digital services and connections to enhance domestic and international trade opportunities for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the InfoComm Media Development Authority (IMDA) are working together to create a cross-border innovation platform called Business sans Borders.
In this connection, MAS and IMDA are also partnering with six private sector partners to create a Proof of Concept (POC) hybrid business data and digital solutions hub. The initiative will leverage on Artificial Intelligence (AI) to facilitate the internationalisation and digitalisation of SMEs. The private sector partners are GlobalLinker1, Mastercard, SAP, Yellow Pages and 99%SMEs (DBS Bank and SingTel).
Making this announcement, Ravi Menon, Managing Director of MAS, said, “Business sans Borders will do two things; it will enable SMEs to connect in a global services marketplace, where they can explore synergies in digitalising their business processes and mutualise costs. It will allow solution providers to more effectively reach out to SMEs who tend to be highly dispersed and are sometimes hard to reach.”
“Business sans Borders will begin with a proof-of-concept next year, with three features - first, a sandbox where start-ups and established players come together to experiment and build relevant solutions; second, an “app store” where SMEs can access a wide range of services, from finance and logistics to human resources; and third, an AI engine to match SME suppliers with buyers for products and services, across ASEAN and beyond,” he added.
The following features will be developed and tested during the POC stage, by the first quarter of 2019: (a) Multi-ecosystem sandbox, containing anonymised SME data, which can be used to initiate new trading opportunities or services through digital discovery; (b) Services App Store for the promotion of new and relevant services to SME ecosystems and SMEs; and (c) Smart AI Engine for the seamless matching of demand and supply of services and products between SMEs across various SME ecosystems.
As SMEs face considerable friction and challenges in achieving quick and seamless access to cross-border trade opportunities and financial services, Business sans Borders will help solution providers with innovative and relevant SME solutions - ranging from logistics, professional services, financing or payments - face challenges in reaching out to these SMEs
Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer, MAS, said, “SMEs are an under-tapped source for considerable economic growth in many countries. Business sans Borders aims to ignite a sea change in the way SMEs around the world can easily connect digitally with each other. This pioneering hybrid data and solutions hub will be supported by innovative and relevant financial services and powered with self-learning artificial intelligence. We are confident that Business sans Borders will positively transform economies and propagate financial inclusion through ASEAN and beyond.”
Claus Andresen, Managing Director, South East Asia, SAP, said, “SAP is proud to participate as a strategic partner of MAS and IMDA in this collaboration. We look forward to leveraging our innovative technologies to help SMEs drive their intelligent enterprise transformation.”
“Through this collaboration, we aim to enable greater levels of procurement across enterprises of all sizes and help drive economic growth in the local community. To date, more than 80% of SAP’s customers are SMEs. SAP serves customers in 180 countries, across 25 industries and is committed to supporting every customer to become a best-run business. Together, we help the world run better and improve people’s lives,” he added.
Ari Sarker, Co-President Asia Pacific, Mastercard, said, “Mastercard has been actively driving digital inclusion across our stakeholder set globally. Beyond the foundational support that we are already providing, we have also recently, adopted a more integrated approach to helping SMEs digitize their supply chains. For example, we recently launched Mastercard TRACKTM – a B2B trade platform that simplifies, digitises and enhances access of SMEs to global markets – which is available in Singapore through the Networked Trade Platform (NTP).”
“Our involvement with MAS in the Business sans Borders offering is an important extension of our considerable footprint in enabling SMEs to really be the engines of growth for their economies and countries,” he added.