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27 May 2020 Updated 27 May 2020

Enterprise Singapore, IMDA and HECS launch initiative to help heartland precincts adopt digital tools to increase customer outreach

Announcement was made at the Singapore Heartland Enterprise Seminar 2020 organised by The Federation of Merchants’ Associations, Singapore


MR No.: 040/20

Singapore, Wednesday, 27 May 2020


  1. Enterprise Singapore (ESG), the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and the Heartland Enterprise Centre, Singapore (HECS) today announced that they will be driving digital transformation in heartland precincts through partnerships with curated digital solution providers. It will first be rolled out in three precincts – Ang Mo Kio, Bedok and Clementi – where it targets to reach over 400 merchants and will subsequently be expanded to up to 10 precincts by the end of 2020. This is in line with ongoing efforts by the HECS to rejuvenate the heartland precincts. The initiative was announced by Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry & Education, Mr Chee Hong Tat, at the Singapore Heartland Enterprise Seminar (SHES) 2020 organised by the Federation of Merchants’ Associations, Singapore (FMAS), which discussed the importance of empowering business transformation in the current economy.

  2. The initiative aims to address concerns from heartland merchants and various Merchant Associations on the reduced footfall to these precincts due to the lack of digital tools to engage and reach new customers. These heartland merchants also find it difficult to curate and source for suitable digital solutions at reasonable costs. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the need to go digital.
  3. Through this initiative, merchants located in the three precincts will be able to work closely and receive guidance from ConnectUpz, DEI and Fave to implement a range of ready-to-use digital solutions such as loyalty programmes and payment methods. They can also on-board online sales channels that are suited to their needs, depending on their current stage of digitalisation. These three solution providers were appointed following a call-for-collaboration that was launched in February 2020 by ESG, HECS and IMDA (Refer to Annex for the list of solutions available).
  4. Mr Yeo Hiang Meng, President of FMAS and Managing Director of HECS said, “We are encouraging and strongly urge the heartland retailers as well as the F&B joints to work with the government to adapt, learn and move towards digitalisation, greater adoption of technology to improve work flow and e-payment platforms to grow their business further for the long term.”

  5. Mrs Kee Ai Nah, Executive Director, Lifestyle & Consumer Cluster of Enterprise Singapore and Co-Chair of the HECS Steering Committee said, “The time is ripe for our heartland merchants to digitalise and bring customers back to the precincts. While the solution providers are able to offer their tools, today’s entrepreneurs must embrace the notion of partnership with fellow merchants to explore opportunities for cross-promotion and precinct-wide loyalty programmes. We believe such collaborative efforts will be the way forward to sustain and grow our heartland enterprises.”
  6. Ms Jane Lim, Assistant Chief Executive, Sectoral Transformation Group, IMDA said, “COVID-19 has presented many challenges especially for the Food Services and Retail sectors. To help businesses, particularly traditional businesses, we worked with the industry to make digital tools and resources available to help them adapt to the changing environments and consumer trends. We are glad to collaborate with industry partners to support our SMEs to go digital and adapt to the new normal.”
  7. Merchants of the three precincts who are keen to sign up for the initiative can do so through HECS’ website. HECS business advisors, together with the three partners, will provide 1-on-1 consultation with merchants to advise on the products suitable for them and costs involved.

    Singapore Heartland Enterprise Seminar

  8. Organised by FMAS, with the support of ESG, Housing and Development Board (HDB), IMDA and the National Environment Agency (NEA), SHES 2020 is into its fifth year. It is a platform for heartland retailers to share success stories, exchange ideas and business opportunities, and leverage on practical business ideas such as transforming from traditional business methods into new business ideas and methodology with the help of technology. This year, SHES, which took on a new format of a webinar, explored the theme “Empowering to embrace the new norm and transform amidst a bleeding economy”.

  9. Aside from SHES, FMAS also organises the Singapore Heartland Enterprise Star Award (SHESA) to recognise the efforts that have been achieved in three aspects, namely, new perspective on the heartland landscapes; innovation and technologies to enhance the heartland businesses; and attracting young entrepreneurs to start businesses in the heartlands.
  10. To drive digital transformation of heartland merchants, FMAS set up the HECS in 2019 to engage merchants on the ground. Most recently, the HECS team hosted a series of webinars to equip merchants with the skillsets to kick-start their digital journey.

Annex A: List of solutions available for the initiative to drive digital transformation in heartland precincts



For media enquiries, please contact:

The Federation of Merchants’ Associations, Singapore
(Ms) Mabel Wong
Corporate Communications Manager
The Federation of Merchants’ Associations, Singapore
Mobile: 9101 4309
E: mabel.wong@fmas.org.sg

Infocomm Media Development Authority
(Ms) Jacqueline Cai
Assistant Manager
Communications and Marketing
DID: (65) 6751 2766
E: Jacqueline_Cai@imda.gov.sg

Enterprise Singapore
(Ms) Cassandra Wong
Business Partner
Corporate Communications
Enterprise Singapore
M: (65) 9129 8490

About The Federation of Merchants’ Associations, Singapore
The Federation of Merchants’ Association Singapore (FMAS) was established in 1985 as a non-profit organisation to represent interest of merchants operating in the Housing and Development Board (HDB) neighbourhood and town centres, as well as stallholders operating in the National Environmental Agency (NEA) hawker centres and markets.

About Heartland Enterprise Centre Singapore (HECS)
Set up in March 2019, the Heartland Enterprise Centre Singapore (HECS) is a dedicated centre to champion the rejuvenation of heartland town centres and businesses. HECS works closely with merchant associations to tailor their enterprise transformation efforts, workforce upgrading programmes and place-making activities. In addition to supporting merchant associations, the centre provides business advisory services and also conduct upgrading programmes for heartland merchants.

HECS is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Federation of Merchants’ Associations, Singapore (FMAS) and supported by Enterprise Singapore.  Our three key pillars of work are business transformation, workforce upgrading and placemaking.  Participating Merchants’ Associations include Ang Mo Kio Constituency Merchants’ Association, Singapore Bedok Town Merchants’ Association and Chong Pang City Merchants’ & Hawkers’ Association.


For more news and information, visit www.hecs.com.sg or follow HECS on Facebook Heartland Enterprise Centre

About Enterprise Singapore
Enterprise Singapore (ESG) is the government agency championing enterprise development. We work with committed companies to build capabilities, innovate and internationalise.


We also support the growth of Singapore as a hub for global trading and startups, and build trust in Singapore’s products and services through quality and standards.


Visit www.enterprisesg.gov.sg for more information.

About the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA)
The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) leads Singapore’s digital transformation with infocomm media. To do this, IMDA will develop a dynamic digital economy and a cohesive digital society, driven by an exceptional infocomm media (ICM) ecosystem – by developing talent, strengthening business capabilities, and enhancing Singapore's ICM infrastructure. IMDA also regulates the telecommunications and media sectors to safeguard consumer interests while fostering a pro-business environment, and enhances Singapore’s data protection regime through the Personal Data Protection Commission.

For more news and information, visit www.imda.gov.sg or follow IMDA on Facebook IMDAsg and Twitter @IMDAsg.