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Speech by MOS Alvin Tan at the Singapore Prestige Brand Award (SPBA) Webinar 2020

Speech by MOS Alvin Tan at the Singapore Prestige Brand Award (SPBA) Webinar 2020

Mr Goh Sin Teck, Editor, Lianhe Zaobao and Lianhe Wanbao


Ms Chew Lee Ching, Chairman of the Singapore Prestige Brand Award Organising Committee and Vice President of the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises,


Ms Goh Sin Hwee, Co-Chairman of the Singapore Prestige Brand Award Organising Committee and Associate Editor of CMG Newshub,


Ladies and Gentlemen,


1.            Good afternoon and thank you for having me at today’s webinar.


2.            The Singapore Prestige Brand Award (SPBA) has been a highlight in the calendars of many of our Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). It has also been a platform through which the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises recognises and supports the growth of our homegrown brands through branding workshops that assist our enterprises to re-examine their brand value with advisory provided by the SPBA judging panel.


3.            Although the Award and gala dinner has been put on hold this year due to COVID-19, I am glad that the organising committee has instead organised a Webinar to keep our SMEs engaged and excited about new opportunities.


4.            Looking back, 2020 has been a challenging year for everyone. It has changed the structure of our economy and impacted our lives in more ways than one. Enterprises big and small and the workforce have had to adapt to new operating environments and new business models. 


5.            The government has supported our enterprises with various schemes to help tide them over the immediate challenges. But more importantly, we are working alongside our enterprises to transform their business models and capture new opportunities brought about by COVID-19.  And we will continue to do so in order to help our businesses remain competitive and resilient in a COVID-world and beyond.


Working together to capture growth trends


6.            One of the opportunities that has emerged is that of an increasingly digital economy. COVID-19 has significantly accelerated the pace of digitalisation among both consumers and businesses, out of pure necessity. These changes will have a lasting impact on the way consumers interact with brands. In a Nielsen Survey conducted in March 2020, 69% of the respondents who bought household goods online for the first time indicated that they will do so again in the next 12 months. To help our enterprises keep pace with this change in consumer preference and an increasingly digital economy, we have been working on several initiatives. 


a.    For example, Enterprise Singapore and NTUC FairPrice Online jointly launched YummySG! in September this year, to raise the visibility of Singapore brands and equip enterprises with the tools and capabilities to build up their online retail strategies. This will help enterprises to build up their digital capabilities, test out new retail channels, diversify their revenue streams and position themselves better to take on new consumer preferences and opportunities, in pace with the changes in consumer preferences.


b.    Earlier in the year, we also launched the Grow Digital initiative under the SMEs Go Digital programme, to support our local brands to gain access to overseas markets through e-commerce platforms, without the need for physical presence in the new markets.  There continues to be various grants for enterprises to tap on such as the Enterprise Development Grant that can help our enterprises to undertake projects, including, branding and overseas market presence efforts.


c.     We are also establishing a network of Digital Economy Agreements (DEA) to forge digital connectivity and trade with overseas markets.


 i.            Singapore signed its first two Digital Economy Agreements this year – with Chile and New Zealand, and with Australia. We are also negotiating a third DEA with Korea.


ii.            These new DEAs will complement our network of Free Trade Agreements by establishing new international rules, setting benchmarks and aligning standards in areas of digital trade. More DEAs with more partners will support interoperability of Singapore’s digital platforms and systems, such as our e-payments or e-invoicing network or digital identities, with those in other countries. This will make it easier for companies, especially SMEs, to internationalise and do business overseas. 


Working together to transform businesses


7.            Beyond trends in digitalisation, I would also like to encourage our enterprise to look out for new possibilities to transform their businesses. Some of our enterprises have already been doing so, and we are committed to working through our Trade Association and Chambers and SME Centres to provide targeted support to our enterprises in their business transformation efforts and work with enterprises to seize new opportunities.


a.    Enterprises can approach our network of SME Centres to kickstart their transformation journey with advisory support from trained Business Advisors and capability building workshops.


b.    We have also equipped our SME Centres to provide local enterprises which demonstrate good growth ambitions with longer-term and deeper support to help them implement their growth and transformation plans.


c.     For example, the SME Centre@ASME, had worked with a local SME, JML Uniforms to develop their new sportswear brand, “FBrand” and its retail strategy. JML Uniforms had been manufacturers of corporate uniforms for the past 45 years and FBrand is their first entrance into the consumer sportswear space and their first time selling online. I wish JML Uniforms more successes with their new brand.



8.            As the economy gradually recovers, the government and our partners, including business chambers such as the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, will continue to identify more relevant ways to support our enterprises in today’s dynamic global economy. I would also like to encourage our enterprises to continue to remain open to the possibilities that the post-COVID-19 world may bring. In this way, Singapore enterprises will be able to emerge stronger and ready to take up new opportunities and challenges locally and globally in the future.


9.            Thank you for having me today, and I wish everyone a fruitful webinar.

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