With strong support from Facebook and Enterprise Singapore, the funding program will be a lifeline for businesses in the country.

A technology association in Singapore, SGTech, has introduced a ‘Stronger Together, Aiding Recovery’ (STAR) fund aimed at helping tech small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore to digitalize operations.

Supported by Facebook and Enterprise Singapore, the STAR Fund will assist SGTech members in training and reskilling their workforce in order to harness new digital capabilities and/or deepen current skills; or to grow their business.

The fund will start with S$660,000, comprising pledges by SGTech member Facebook, and Enterprise Singapore’s (ESG) SG Together Enhancing Enterprise Resilience (STEER) program, which supports funds set up by industry players with the aim of helping businesses emerge stronger amid COVID-19 challenges.

SMEs the “backbone of the economy”

Under the funding scheme, eligible SGTech members can apply for the fund, and about 2,000 SMEs are expected to benefit from this program.

Said SGTech Chairman Wong Wai Meng: “Singapore companies should continue to invest in technology to be better-positioned to take on new opportunities in the post-COVID-19 world. While COVID-19 has proven to be highly disruptive to businesses, it has brought to the fore opportunities for companies to leverage on technology to insulate against some of the consequences of such a shock.”

Facebook Singapore’s Head of Infrastructure Engagement in Asia, Gavin Chua said: “SMEs are the backbone of the Singapore economy. We hope our collaboration with SGTech Singapore on the STAR Fund will help SMEs build resilience through digital transformation and upskilling.”

Enterprise Singapore’s Assistant CEO Chew Mok Lee is also happy to support the set-up of the program through STEER, “as it provides an additional resource for ICT businesses in this challenging business climate. This is a good example of how industry players, such as trade associations and chambers, can quickly step up to partner the government to continue to drive industry initiatives amidst COVID-19 that will uplift fellow businesses who are affected and prepare them for the economic recovery ahead.”

Wong said that with a membership close to 1,000 companies, SGTech is in a strong position to support member companies that need help, while augmenting existing government efforts to get more businesses to digitalize. “SGTech sees itself as a strategic partner to the government, in helping businesses tide over the COVID-19 challenges and to drive transformation efforts in preparation for the eventual economic recovery,” Wong said.

In assessing applications, SGTech will appoint a panel of assessors consisting of Councillors and Chapter Executive Committee Members who are representatives of member companies.

Companies interested to apply may find more details of the STAR Fund here.