Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) represent about 90% of businesses and more than 50% of employment worldwide, while formal SMEs contribute up to 40% of national income (GDP) in emerging economies. In developing markets, most formal jobs are generated by SMEs, which create 7 out of 10 jobs; an integral part of the job market, especially in light of research that estimates 600 million jobs will be needed by 2030, according to World Bank SME Finance.
Therefore, it is essential that enterprises adopt new strategies, to maximize e-commerce growth. Moving forward with such changes require companies to get help and additional advice from reputable institutions. OCBC Bank has initiated and hosted webinars to equip SME owners with the digital know-how to transform their businesses.
The webinars created in partnership with Enterprise Singapore, Amazon, Google and Shopee, among others, will prepare more than 3,000 SMEs and some 6,500 employees with digitalization skills by the end of the year. In addition, the bank acknowledged that more than 5,000 employees from around 2,500 SMEs have attended the OCBC Virtual SME Campus webinars since they began in April during the circuit breaker period.
“A common feedback from our customers, especially the smaller businesses and start-ups, is that they know they have to adapt quickly but are unsure of how to do so,” said Ms Christie Chu, Head of Emerging Business and Commercial Banking Cash at OCBC. “The pace of new developments has also been overwhelming, leaving some confused about what help is available. That’s where OCBC Virtual SME Campus comes in to fill that knowledge gap.”
Business owner, Ms Lim Geok Keng, Founder of kombucha brand Chateaux, said she picked up useful information about grants and services for SMEs from the webinars, as well as gaining a better understanding of digital marketing issues.
Another example is Mr Marc Ng, whose specialty coffee roasting company “Awesome Coffee”, did not have an e-commerce presence when the circuit breaker started. He discusses how the webinar helped him learn about boosting sales with an active online presence. “Through the webinars, I was able to understand the differences between running a brick-and-mortar store, which I’m more familiar with, and running a digital storefront”, Ng said.