UOB and The FinLab launch online platform to help Malaysian SMEs digitally transform
By Digital News Asia July 21, 2020
- Taps into Jom Transform Programme; offers expertise of mentors
- Participants can conduct self-assessment of tech needs & receive help
United Overseas Bank (Malaysia) Bhd (UOB Malaysia) and The FinLab – UOB’s innovation accelerator – have launched The FinLab Online, a regional digital platform to help local small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and startups implement digital solutions to transform their businesses.
The digital platform will incorporate the Jom Transform Programme, a business transformation programme in Malaysia that helps local SMEs digitalise their operations for productivity and revenue growth.
Participating SMEs in the Jom Transform Programme this year will go through a one-month curriculum on The FinLab Online. They will be able to tap the expertise of industry mentors from UOB and its regional ecosystem partners through online workshops, video tutorials and webinars.
The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) will continue as a strategic partner for the programme to provide advisory in digitalisation
Participants will also be able to conduct a self-assessment of their technology needs based on The FinLab’s proprietary business analysis tools. They will then be guided on digitalisation strategies and solutions to address immediate business challenges and be matched with relevant technology solution providers.
In addition, participants will be able to tap The FinLab Online’s community network to address issues specific to their business and operational needs such as e-commerce, marketing, human resources, administrative operations and customer relationship management.
Incorporating the Jom Transform Programme on The FinLab Online digital platform is one of the ways the bank is making it easier for Malaysian SMEs to drive their digitalisation plans, says UOB Malaysia chief executive officer Wong Kim Choong (pic).
“Given that the current operating environment has been impacted greatly by the Covid-19 pandemic, it is now even more critical for businesses to use technology effectively to upskill their employees and to manage their operations more efficiently,” he elaborates.
“This will help ensure that they remain viable and relevant as consumption increasingly shifts online and against the backdrop of social distancing standard operating procedures and guidelines set up by the government. With the Jom Transform Programme conducted digitally on The FinLab Online, SME business owners can learn how to tap technology for their digital transformation and do so from the safety of their own homes.”
Adding to that, The FinLab’s co-head Pauline Sim says: “Digital adoption is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and there is a clear demand for tailored, actionable support for SMEs and startups to take charge of their business growth journey. The FinLab Online leverages UOB’s extensive network and close to 85 years of experience operating in ASEAN to provide The FinLab Online’s community with the necessary expertise, knowledge and connections.”
The FinLab will also share insights from UOB’s own experience in growing a successful regional business with their community members to help SMEs navigate their own expansion in ASEAN in an increasingly digital world.
Partnering MDEC for SME digitalisation
The Jom Transform Programme has a goal to help at least 100 Malaysian SMEs embrace digitalisation to achieve one of the following outcomes: increase in revenue, reduction in business cost, improvement of process time cycle, reduction in man hours or creation of new sources of growth.
SMEs who completed the programme last year had expected to raise their productivity by up to 30% through digitalisation.
This year, the programme includes support from MDEC through its Smart Automation Grant, which will be offered to participating businesses that successfully pitch their digitalisation plans and demonstrate tangible outcomes.
MDEC CEO Surina Shukri says the funding incentives set aside for SMEs under the PENJANA initiative underscores the Malaysian government’s emphasis in encouraging more local businesses to adopt digitalisation, which has become more critical as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Local businesses must be ready to pivot and to embrace digital transformation. UOB Malaysia and The FinLab's Jom Transform Programme is important to MDEC’s mission to ensure the nation’s economy is able to weather any uncertainties in the face of ongoing global disruption,” she says.
“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic gave many organisations, especially SMEs, the imperative to rethink and to reorganise their respective business models. It is now more important than ever for SMEs, who are the backbone of the Malaysian economy, to take that digital leap – not only to survive, but to thrive.”
The one-month Jom Transform Programme with The FinLab will commence in August 2020. Local businesses interested in participating in the Jom Transform Programme are encouraged to register their interest now at https://thefinlab.com/malaysiajomtransform/.