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SMEs in Singapore: OCBC and the kombucha queen


OCBC’s Virtual SME Campus has an expensive public face.

On Monday, Singapore’s OCBC Bank issued a press release touting the financial benefits of its Virtual SME Campus, a series of two-hour webinars that aim to equip local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with the digital skills to go online and get selling fast.

It’s a message of hope and good cheer. And of gentle bank PR spin.

It also ticks a lot of boxes. OCBC targets all sectors, but particularly the Lion City’s food and beverage (F&B) industry, hit hard by Covid.

The webinars – so far, 30 have been streamed to 5,000 staff at 2,500 SMEs – help firms figure out how to tap into capital financing support schemes, reach out to new customers in China and southeast Asia, and adapt to life after coronavirus.

Everyone loves a bargain, but $6 for a bottle of fermented tea?

It’s well coordinated, as you’d expect from one of Asia’s best-run banks. The campus was created in alliance with Amazon, Google and Shopee, a local e-commerce platform, as well as Enterprise Singapore, part of the ministry of trade and industry.

The scheme is designed to stand atop existing foundations, notably OCBC’s Start Digital Pack, a tidy little bundle of support services including human resources, digital marketing and cyber security, offered free for the first six months.


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