United Overseas Bank (Thai) (UOB (Thai)) and The FinLab, UOB’s innovation accelerator, today launched the 2020 Smart Business Transformation Programme (SBTP) to help more Thai small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with their digital transformation journey. In its second year, the programme will be conducted on the newly-launched The FinLab Online, a regional digital platform.
By making the SBTP accessible online, the Bank aims to help at least 150 Thai SMEs implement digital solutions to achieve positive business outcomes, a ten-fold increase from the inaugural programme in 2019. Some of the positive outcomes from the first SBTP cohort include increasing revenue, lowering operational costs, improving efficiency and fostering a digital mindset among employees.
After their registration for the SBTP, SMEs will be able to conduct a free self-assessment of their technology needs based on The FinLab’s proprietary business analysis tools. These tools include the Digital Needs Assessment Test and Digital Solutions Advisory Quiz, which will enable SMEs to identify which business areas to prioritise for digitalisation. They will then be guided on digitalisation strategies and the appropriate solutions and will be matched with relevant technology solution providers.
Through live webinars and monthly workshops, participating SMEs will be able to tap the expertise of industry mentors, as well as gain know-how around digital marketing, e-commerce strategies, business process optimisation and financial management. They will also learn about the digital tools they can use from the solution providers.
Ms Piyaporn Ratanaprasartporn, Executive Director and Country Head of Channels and Digitalisation, UOB (Thai), said, “SMEs who completed the programme and started their digital transformation journey last year saw positive results on their business performance. For example, Nappi Baby, which manufactures and sells baby products made with bamboo fibre, saw 150 per cent growth in e-commerce sales and 30 per cent cost savings in the first quarter of this year. This was achieved even as most businesses were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In bringing the SBTP on The FinLab Online this year, we hope to help more Thai SMEs overcome challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and tap opportunities in the digital economy.
“UOB’s recent ASEAN SME Transformation Study 2020 showed that SMEs across the region had shifted their strategies to focus on digitalisation as their top priority (60 per cent). In Thailand, seven in 10 SMEs surveyed ranked technology as their top investment priority. Through the SBTP, Thai SMEs can pick up the digital skills and tools they need and learn to harness technology to drive business performance.”
Ms Pauline Sim, Head at The FinLab, said, “There is a demand for tailored, actionable support to enable SMEs to take charge of their business growth journey. Thai SMEs participating in the SBTP via The FinLab Online will be able to leverage our proprietary business tools, content and resources to prioritise their areas of digitalisation, to identify and to implement suitable technology solutions. The first step towards digitalisation is always the hardest, but we are here to support SMEs on their journey through our network of mentors and technology experts.”
SMEs participating in the second SBTP can access The FinLab’s tried and tested business transformation programme anywhere, anytime. In Thailand, the strategic partners of the SBTP include the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (depa), National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), the Office of SMEs Promotion (OSMEP) and the Association of Thai Software Industry (ATSI). These partners will provide advisory and funding support to SMEs in their digitalisation initiatives.
The SBTP is now open for registration and the first live webinar on ‘Digital Transformation for SMEs’ is scheduled on 20 August 2020. SMEs can find out more information and sign up for the programme at www.thefinlab.com/thailand
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