Google, UOB Helps F&B Retailers Survive COVID-19 Crisis

Google, UOB Helps F&B Retailers Survive COVID-19 Crisis

May 5, 2020

Google and UOB expands their SME Leadership Academy capacity ten-fold and revise the curriculum to help SMEs hard hit by COVID-19.

Google and UOB announces a new curriculum for the SME Leadership Academy training programme, customised to help SMBs and SMEs from retail, tourism and food and beverage sectors respond
to unprecedented challenges from COVID-19.

Given the pressing need for SMEs across different industries to be able to transform their businesses digitally, Google says the SME Leadership Academy will also expand its capacity to help 4,000 SMEs by end 2021, a ten-fold increase from the initially projected 400 SMEs.

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, the training programme for retail and tourism SMEs will be conducted online through six to eight webinars, each lasting an hour. Previous training sessions were conducted through in-person seminars.

The revised and online curriculum now teaches SMEs how to 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, which can then be turned into practical steps they can take to tackle their own immediate challenges. UOB says it 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 accelerator The FinLab, will also connect SMEs with suitable technology solution providers.

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

“It is critical that we support them in whatever way we can. Alongside our other initiatives to help the business community, we hope that the webinar series of our SME Leadership Academy will empower Singaporean businesses through skills training and enable them to succeed in a digital economy, which is especially critical during this challenging business climate,” says King.

STB Marketing College is a learning and development programme tailored for marketing professionals in the travel and tourism industry. The College says its working with key digital partners to roll out online training resources to help the tourism industry upskill during the COVID-19 period.

Through the customised curriculum and online webinars, the college says it wants to make it easier for SMEs to address the business constraints resulting from the pandemic and to be ready for recovery.

According to UOB Head of Group Commercial Banking Eric Tham, SMEs can gain 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.

“Just as UOB has been actively helping our SME customers address their immediate concerns, we want to ensure that they are well-prepared for the future. We expect the new ways of working today will become the new normal for the future. The SME Leadership Academy’s new online curriculum is one way we can help enable SMEs adapt to change and adopt technology for their long-term business continuity and growth,” says Tham.

Commenting on the impact faced by the F&B industry, Digital Industry Singapore CDO Kiren Kumar says the pandemic makes it crucial for the business community to stay united.

“The expanded SME Leadership Academy webinar series will help more firms leverage technology to get through this difficult time, and build digital capabilities within their businesses to prepare for the eventual recovery. We look forward to collaborating with more companies like Google and UOB to support companies during this period,” says Kumar.

(Ed. To sign up for the webinar series, click here.)

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