Chia Yan Min
Economics Correspondent, The Straits Times
99% SME aims to engage 2,500 firms, get people to shop with them
DBS Bank and Singtel have unveiled a suite of resources to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with marketing, e-commerce and cashless payments.
This is part of a campaign called 99% SME, which is now into its second year. It aims to rally consumers to shop with SMEs.
The name of the campaign comes from the fact that SMEs make up 99 per cent of registered companies in Singapore.
More than 1,600 SMEs signed up for the inaugural programme last year. DBS and Singtel aim to engage 2,500 SMEs in this year's campaign.
Some of the perks being dangled this year include an e-commerce solution being offered to the first 500 sign-ups for 99 cents a day, and fee waivers for cashless payment solutions. Courses in digital marketing and e-commerce are also on offer.
The campaign will culminate in an SME Week, which will be held from Oct 14 to Oct 23, and aims to encourage consumers to shop with SMEs. Participating SMEs will be able to list promotions and offers on the 99% SME website.
To tap these resources, SMEs must first join the 99% SME campaign. They can register at localhost/singtel before Sept 30.
To qualify, SMEs must have Singaporean ownership of at least 30 per cent, and less than $100 million in revenue a year, or fewer than 200 employees. DBS and Singtel will also reward customers who shop with these SMEs.
Singtel will give away a month's free Singtel Music subscription, worth up to $9.90, to the first 990 customers daily.
This applies to those who spend at least $99 on a single receipt at a participating SME store on the same day, either online or at a physical shop.
The campaign is supported by enterprise development agency Spring, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore as well as some trade associations and chambers of commerce.
Mr Jackie Lim, the founder and chief executive of Jac's Learning Centre, took part in 99% SME last year and said he will be doing so again this year.
The company offers academic tuition, as well as enrichment classes in coding and robotics for children as young as five years old.
Mr Lim said enquiries for the centre's enrichment classes went up four to five times after it offered promotional discounts on the 99% SME website, in line with last year's campaign. "We previously tried advertising online and on social media but it wasn't very effective," he said.