In the upcoming extraordinary times ahead, startups and SMEs in the region can seek complimentary help in digitalization from the professionals.

Small-to-Medium Enterprises (SMEs) struggling to digitalize or finetune their digital transformation are now able to tap on a new platform meant for the ASEAN region.

The newly-launched platform, The FinLab Online, is the brainchild of The FinLab, which is the United Overseas Bank’s (UOB) innovation accelerator arm launched in 2015. The fintech lab touts a host of “tried-and-tested business transformation programs” gleaned from UOB’s extensive network and close to 85 years of experience operating in ASEAN.

As a natural extension of their efforts, the newly-launched digital platform aims to reach out to the region to help SMEs and start-ups. These enterprises, deemed more vulnerable to the raging economic impact of the current COVID-19 pandemic, will be able to tap the expertise of industry mentors through video tutorials and webinars, as well as sign up for self-assessment tools to determine how to strategize their business in the new business landscape.

The FinLab Online Programme on the platform offers proprietary business analysis tools that can help users formulate digitalization strategies and solutions to address immediate business challenges and be matched with relevant technology solution providers.

For example, the platform’s community network will enable SMEs and start-ups to tap relevant digital solutions specific to their business and operational needs such as e-commerce, marketing, human resources, administration and customer relationship management. Members will also be able to learn from and leverage additional resources provided by the website’s ecosystem of partners such as the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC).

Digital transformation customized

Said Pauline Sim, Co-Head, The FinLab: “Digital adoption is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and there is a clear demand for tailored, actionable support for SMEs and start-ups to take charge of their business growth journey. In just April and May alone, more than 440 SMEs and start-ups from various industries across the region have registered to be part of The FinLab Online as they look to tap digital solutions to transform and grow their businesses.”

Acepac International is one of the companies that benefited from the initiative. Said the firm’s head of operations, K S Ho: “Through the Mentoring Leaders: Opportunities Unusual series, we gained valuable tips and advice on tools and strategies to view COVID-19 as an opportunity rather than a threat. We are beginning to explore ways to scale our e-commerce capabilities and look forward to the upcoming training workshops that will help SMEs optimize their platforms and boost audience engagement.”

Membership to The FinLab Online community is free and registration is open to all SMEs and start-ups in ASEAN. Businesses keen to find out more about The FinLab Online and its upcoming initiatives can attend the Info Session on 17th July, 11am–12pm.