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09 Jan 2019 Updated 10 Jan 2019

Welcome Address by Mr Peter Ong, Chairman for Enterprise Singapore, at Start Digital Launch and Networking Event







Mr S Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information,

Industry Partners,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentleman,

1. Good morning.  Welcome to this Launch and Networking Event co-organised by IMDA and Enterprise Singapore to share and exchange insights on digital transformation, and launch three new digitalisation initiatives.

Starting digital puts enterprises on the right footing for future growth

 2. A recent survey by the Singapore Business Federation shows that 6 in 10 SMEs1 recognise the importance of digitalisation. Digitalisation not only plays a very important role for the growth of companies, but also for the successful transformation of entire industries.  Yet, the demands of running a business often mean that SMEs lack the time and resources to begin the digitalisation journey, let alone make digitalisation a priority.

3. Cost is also a factor. As business needs become more complex, the upfront cost to digitalise escalates.  Additionally, it could be more challenging for SMEs to adopt technology midway into their businesses, after they have set up the physical layout of their premises and trained their staff in a certain way on newly crafted business processes.

4. The same survey by SBF2 showed that companies who embraced digitalisation are likely to grow three times as fast, and enjoy three times higher profitability than those who do not.

5. This is why we want to help SMEs start their business right, by starting digital.  By starting digital, many subsequent business decisions like physical layout, processes and staff training can follow suit in a way compatible with a digital DNA for the SME.  By starting digital, SMEs have the best chance to start on a pathway of higher productivity, greater efficiency, higher staff morale and greater agility to scale up business volumes as demand grows.

6. The positive impact of starting digital is even greater when programmes are available to enable large numbers of SMEs to do so, and the digital start is not confined to a few.  When large numbers of SMEs turn digital at the same time, many other industry and cross-cutting initiatives can reap the benefits and power of networks.

Public-Private Partnerships to achieve pace and scale

7. Private and public collaborations are key in creating an ecosystem that fosters a more inclusive digital economy.  The initiatives we are launching today are made possible only with support from our partners, who bring with them expertise and reach to accelerate and magnify our efforts to help companies transform.

8. We are constantly looking for new modes of partnership that will create impact.  For today, we have engaged partners like banks and telcos who have special touchpoints with enterprises when they first register, i.e. at birth.  Your participation and presence today is a critical catalyst to getting as many new enterprises to start right by starting digital.

9. On the government front, Enterprise Singapore is working closely with IMDA to best equip and support local enterprises in their digitalisation journey.  We not only want to help SMEs start this journey, but also grow with them and help them make the next leap forward.

10. I encourage our local businesses to tap on the resources available, such as the Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs) that provide companies with a strategic guide for their next phase of growth. Those who are ready to build their capabilities further can leverage the various SMEs Go Digital initiatives, Enterprise Singapore’s assistance programmes, or start conversations with the Business Advisors at the SME Centre.


11. Technology is a powerful enabler for both businesses and communities alike.  We are at an age of disruption, where change is a constant, and adaptability key to survival.  It is also important to be open and creative in how we partner others, so we can build upon one another’s strengths and networks.

12. With our combined efforts, I believe we can create a movement to impact future generations of digitally-enabled companies, founders and entrepreneurs.

13. I wish all of you an enjoyable time this morning.  Thank you.


1National Business Survey 2017/2018: The Changing Face of Singapore Businesses, SBF

2National Business Survey 2017/2018: The Changing Face of Singapore Businesses, SBF