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Start Digital Pack: The Government Wants SMEs To Embrace Digital Solutions. Here’s How You Can Tap On It

If you are a business owner and haven’t tapped on these grants (or even heard about them), now is the time.


This article is written in collaboration with OCBC Business Banking. Views expressed in the article is the independent opinion of DollarsAndSense.sg.

In a span of just a few years, technology has changed the way people work, play and stay connected with their loved ones. While technology adoption among individuals can be as fast as companies launch new products, unfortunately, the pace of innovation and technological adoption in companies, especially SMEs, can be painfully slow.

Barriers to SMEs adopting new technology include apprehension due to cost, a lack of awareness of the solutions available in the market or decision paralysis due to sheer number of options.

First launched by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat in Budget 2017, the SMEs Go Digital Programme is a government initiative to help SMEs in Singapore transform themselves by leveraging on digital technology, thus improving productivity and streamlining non-core business processes.

This year, the SMEs Go Digital Programme was expanded to include more digital solutions. The Start Digital Pack was introduced to help newly-incorporated SMEs and SMEs that are new to using digital technology.

Areas covered under the Start Digital Pack includes accounting, digital marketing, human resources (HR), digital transactions and cybersecurity.

Read Also: Business Banking In Singapore: Then And Now

How The Start Digital Pack Can Help SMEs Owners In Their Business

Having a good business product or service that customers are willing to pay money for is just one part of running a business. Being able to manage your business operations well is equally important if you want your business to be successful. As the saying goes, “Ideas are the easy part. It’s all about the execution”.

Regardless of which sector your business is in, common areas that all business owners would need to do well includes HR, accounting and marketing.

For example, at DollarsAndSense, what we offer is good content to our readers (we hope you agree with us!) and advertising solutions to our clients. We pride ourselves on generating quality, original content that people would enjoy, which keeps us relevant to both our readers and advertisers.

At the same time, we also have to manage our accounting, marketing and HR matters for without which, we still wouldn’t have a successful business – no matter how great our content is.

Read Also: 3 Ways The Digital Business Dashboard By OCBC Has Helped Us Manage Our Business

In partnership with Enterprise Singapore (ESG) and Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), SME owners can now tap on the grants provided by the Start Digital Pack through Start Digital partners such as OCBC.

Some of the most popular services that you can sign up for under the Start Digital Pack include:

Accounting & HR: QuickBooks; Xero; JustLogin; SME Cloud Exchange Network (SMECEN)

Marketing: Mailchimp

Digital Transactions: Shopify

Cyber Security: Singtel BroadBand Protect & Business Protect Basic

To qualify for the Start Digital Pack rebate, ensure that you are not already using the apps that you have signed up for. Remember, the point of the scheme is to encourage businesses to try out apps that they have not used which could potentially help them in their future business growth, as opposed to using it to pay for apps which they are already using anyway.

Each SME can take up any 2 pre-approved apps in the Start Digital Pack and get at least 6 months free basic subscription. Do note that SMEs will need to subscribe to these 2 apps for a minimum period of 18 months.

If you are an existing OCBC business account user, you can connect some of these apps listed above to the OCBC Digital Business Dashboard. This dashboard is an innovative platform which provides business owners with a quick snapshot of the key areas in their business and alerting them to potential areas that may require further attention. The dashboard is available for free to all OCBC business account users.

You can find out more about our personal experience using the dashboard here.

Start Digital Pack Basically Gives You A Free Extended Trial

As business owners, we have to consider the trade-offs between what we spend against the returns we enjoy.

It is understandable that we may be hesitant to start using new apps because it would take us a while before we become adept in using it. This also requires an outlay of initial effort to train our staff, adapting our company’s processes, and some financial investment.

The Start Digital Pack basically gives you a free extended trial where your business does not need to fork out money to try new apps that can help you with some of your business operations. Businesses will now have more time to explore these new apps that they are using, and to decide for themselves if these are apps that can help them in the long-term.

To get started with the Start Digital Pack, all you need to do is to register your company with one of the Start Digital Partners – OCBC being one of the partners that you can consider.

If you don’t already have an OCBC business account, you can open one online in less than 10 minutes.

Read Also: Guide To Opening A Business Account For Your Start-Up In Singapore