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Digital Initiatives Launched to help SMEs ‘Start Digital, Get Connected and Be Trusted’

European Commission ec.europa.eu

Three digital initiatives were launched this week at an event – ‘Start Digital, Get Connected and Be Trusted’ to help encourage and assist SMEs to become digitalised, and to give these businesses digital support at any stage of their digitalisation journey. The three initiatives  were: The Start Digital initiative – launched with the view of helping businesses adopt digital solutions from the start, E-invoicing – to make sure businesses are capable of transacting easily with others and that they have a platform to compete with locally and internationally, and the launch of the Data Protection Trustmark – to certify that businesses are trustworthy and operate good data management practices.

Mr Iswaran highlighted that ‘SMEs make up the vast majority of businesses in Singapore. The extent and speed of their digitalisation will have a profound impact on the transformation of our economy.’

The Start Digital is an add on to the SME initiative launched 2 years ago – Go Digital. This is an initiative which has helped over 3,000 SMEs with their digital solutions so far. Start Digital is a joint initiative of IMDA and Enterprise Singapore, and it falls within the broader SMEs Go Digital programme.

The initiative was launched due to feedback from SME business owners who expressed how much they would have like to have started their business, digitally ready, at the beginning.

Mr Iswaran empathised with them as he said he understood as it is ‘very hard to make the switch to digital solutions once companies are entrenched in manual systems and traditional processes.’

Start Digital will offer good quality, affordable and easy-to-use digital solution packages. Through Start Digital, SMEs can try two digital solutions options covering areas from accounting, human resources, digital transactions, digital marketing platforms to cybersecurity.

IMDA and Enterprise Singapore are working with industry partners, such as banks and Telco’s. “By working with these Start Digital partners, we hope to scale up tech adoption to a much larger base of SMEs and boost the impact of digitalisation” said Mr Iswaran.

National e-invoicing network gives SMEs international platform

It was also announced at this event the launch of the Pan-European Public Procurement On-Line standard (PEPPOL) as the nationwide e-invoicing network. This was launched to help SMEs move away from costly manual transactions and use a faster lower-costing, more accurate electronic platform.  Mr Iswaran added that “our businesses will be even more plugged into the international marketplace through PEPPOL.  They can more easily therefore conduct transactions with overseas businesses who are also on this same tried-and-tested network.”

Data Protection Trustmark highlights good data practices in SMEs

IMDA and PDPC began trialling the Data Protection (DP) Trustmark Certification scheme last July, to recognise organisations with responsible data protection practices. The Data Protection Trustmark was officially launched this week at the same event.

The Data Protection Trustmark recognises good data management practice and gives certified businesses a competitive advantage and builds customer trust and confidence.

Mr Iswaran concluded that these initiatives – Start Digital, e-invoicing and the Data Protection Trustmark – ‘will enable enterprises to digitalise with confidence – by using trusted digital solutions, connecting to a trusted national and international e-invoicing network, and building stronger consumer trust.

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