Inaugurating the opening of Singapore's 11th SME Centre in Little India, Minister of Communications and Information, S Iswaran, said, "The effort we have in Little India is a continuation of what we are doing in precincts like Kampong Glam. Digital transformation initiated from these cultural precincts will make a big difference in the businesses run out of there."
SME Centre to be located out of Little India Arcade was jointly launched by the efforts Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI), Enterprise Singapore and Little India Heritage and Shopkeepers Association (LISHA).
Earlier in the year, SICCI and LISHA signed an MoU to support shopkeepers in Little India area. SICCI and Republic Polytechnic also signed a training agreement at the inauguration. SME Centre will make it even easier for business owners, in the area, to get professional counsel on taking their businesses to next level with the use of technology, digitisation, training, accessing government schemes and grants.
Dr T Chandroo, Chairman, SICCI was also present for the event. The centre is set to also hold at least one event for businesses every month, which could range from workshops on digital technology to talks on various government schemes and grants.
He said the SME Centre hopes to help about 1,000 businesses in Little India keep up with evolving technological trends, and stay viable. The SME Centre, which occupies 511 sq ft of space in the Little India Arcade, will also hold at least one event for businesses every month, which could range from workshops on digital technology to talks on various government schemes and grants.
Dr T Chandroo, Chairman, SICCI, said, "It can’t get any better for SMEs and merchants in the Little India area with the SME Centre opened in the heart of the area. There is no reason for them to not visit and get advice, which can help them in expanding their business and getting expert advice."
Mr S Iswaran in his speech highlighted that SME Centres can offer customised solutions to help businesses reorganise their processes, instead of just giving off-the-shelf options that may not allow them to derive the full benefits of transformation.
Speaking to reporters at the SME Centre, Mr Iswaran said, "IMDA also intends to take such efforts to Chinatown and some heartland areas. If you go to Chinatown and Little India, there are many shops engaged in traditional businesses. But even in the traditional businesses, we can introduce digital technology, change their business value proposition and enhance their competitiveness," the Minister added.
He said the centre was a manifestation of the larger trends in society and it was important to understand the progression of these trends, particularly digitisation and how it is changing the way people do business.
He also stated that it was important to pool resources and capabilities to work together with the state, but it is important that businesses take the first step in cooperating.
"The agencies and the government are fully behind businesses and this effort. It is a long term challenge, but it is something where, if we get it right, the impact will be sustained and very rewarding for you as a business and for us as a country in this economy," he signed off.