More help for 2,500 SMEs to ‘Go Global’ with Google

Google on Monday (July 31) announced the expansion of its Go Global initiative, with a commitment to train 2,500 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to be digitally and export-ready by 2019. TODAY File Photo

SINGAPORE — When two gaming enthusiasts got uncomfortable after spending long hours in front of their desktops, they landed up designing chairs with the “ultimate” seating experience.

The two co-founders of gaming accessories start-up Secretlab — Mr Ian Ang, 25, and Mr Alaric Choo, 29 — turned to Google’s Go Global programme to help with their digital marketing strategy. In less than three years, Secretlab’s operations expanded to over nine countries, including the United States, Australia and Malaysia.

Similarly, homegrown furniture retailer Castlery scaled monthly revenues from S$2,000 to S$200,000 within 18 months of operations, with help from Google’s programme. “Digital outreach gives young start-ups like us a fighting chance,” said Mr Declan Ee, co-founder of Castlery.

On the back of several such success stories, Google on Monday (July 31) announced the expansion of its Go Global initiative, with a commitment to train 2,500 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to be digitally and export-ready by 2019.

From left to right: Yeo Guat Kwang, Assistant Director-General, NTUC, Ian Ang, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Secretlab, Declan Ee, Co-Founder, Castlery, Jerald Lee, Regional Sales Manager, Google Marketing Solutions, Ho Semun, Executive Director, Singapore infocomm Technology Federation (SiTF), Mervyn Koh, Managing Director and Country Head of Business Banking Singapore, UOB. Photo Courtesy of Google

Aimed at helping homegrown brands tap into the global market, Google launched the programme in 2015 in collaboration with enterprise agency Spring Singapore and trade agency International Enterprise Singapore. It has since trained some 1,000 SMEs in the Republic, including Ascent Solutions, Skin Inc, Swee Lee, The General Company, Benjamin Barker among others, enhancing their global presence and exports through its workshops and masterclasses.

Google said its expanded Go Global scheme now includes access to dedicated marketing consultants for advice on growing businesses through online media campaigns besides developing e-commerce capabilities. Masterclasses led by Google and partner agencies provide practical advice on how to grow their digital presence. The tech giant also runs Squared Online for SMEs, providing training for some 1,000 SME leaders looking to build in-house digital expertise.

“We’ve seen great traction with our efforts with Go Global since its launch and we want to go even bigger this year to provide more help for SMEs to fulfil their dreams of becoming recognised brands at home and abroad. Whether it’s taking their first step online or exploring new markets, we hope that the programme will help SMEs take their businesses to greater heights,” said Mr Gilberto Gaeta, Head of Google Marketing Solutions for Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Emerging Markets.

The fact that most people in Singapore research online and buy offline indicate that Singapore lacks digital assets and is way behind markets like the United States and China although shopping is well recognised as a national hobby in Singapore. “So, the potential is huge but more work need to be done in terms of building trust and confidence in digital assets,” Mr Gaeta added.

Mr Gaeta noted that with 3.8 million users coming online every month, South-east Asia is the fastest growing Internet market in the world and the fourth largest with 260 million users already online.

Google announced new partnerships with the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and Singapore infocomm Technology Federation (SiTF) to scale up efforts to reach out to a larger pool of SMEs. Go Global’s offerings will now be available to NTUC’s and SiTF’s combined base of 13,650 member companies.

Urging SMEs to be more action oriented and acceptance driven, Ms Ho Semun, Executive Director at SiTF said SMEs also need to be well aware of Government help and initiatives like Google’s Go Global programme. “Singapore is a small market. Therefore, going regional and global is necessary in order for our businesses to thrive,” Ms Ho added.

Featured by Todayonline on 31 July 2017