Google and UOB revise SME Leadership Academy programme to help businesses with COVID-19 challenges

Google and UOB are customising the curriculum for the SME Leadership Academy training programme to help business leaders respond to the unprecedented challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given the pressing need for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across different industries to be able to transform their businesses digitally, the Academy will also expand its capacity to help 4,000 SMEs by end 2021. This is a ten-fold increase from the initially projected 400 SMEs.

Photo courtesy: Unsplash
Photo courtesy: Unsplash

The training programme for retail and tourism SMEs will be conducted online through six to eight webinars, starting April 28. Each webinar lasts an hour. Previous training sessions were conducted through in-person seminars.

The revised curriculum focuses on helping SMEs use digital solutions, including online collaboration tools, to be more effective when managing their businesses from home. SMEs will also gain insights into effective people and business management during crises. 

UOB will guide SMEs on how to apply for COVID-19 financial relief assistance to help tide them over during this difficult period. The Bank, through its innovation accelerator The FinLab, will also connect SMEs with suitable technology solution providers.

“The considerable disruptions of COVID-19 has made this a tough time for businesses at all levels. This is doubly so for SMEs who need to accelerate digital adoption and quickly move their business online to adapt to the evolving situation," said Ben King, Country Director of Google Singapore.

"We hope that the webinar series of our SME Leadership Academy will empower Singapore businesses through skills training and enable them to succeed in a digital economy, which is especially critical during this challenging business climate.”

The SME Leadership Academy is an initiative by Google and UOB, in collaboration with the Economic Development Board and with the support of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) Marketing College , Enterprise Singapore and Singapore Retailers Association. 

Lawrence Loh, Head of Group Business Banking, UOB, commented, “Through the customised curriculum and online webinars, we want to make it easier for SMEs to address the business constraints resulting from the pandemic and to be ready for recovery. They can do so by gaining relevant market insights and learning how they can make use of digital solutions to create new revenue streams and to manage their costs more effectively.”