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Google in Asia

How we're helping Singapore's small businesses go digital

Two people sitting down by a desk with a computer, with a busy shelf behind them.

In 1987, Vincent Tan founded FotoHub —a Singapore based print shop— with the dream of helping Singaporeans preserve their special moments through photo prints. To combat the challenges brought about by the rise of digital photography, Mr. Tan decided to set up an online store. Still, he was unsure of how to attract this new generation of customers. Determined to adapt their business, Mr. Tan and his daughter joined the Digital Practitioner Program (DPP), a joint program by Google and Enterprise Singapore to help businesses to develop digital capabilities. The program helped Fotohub optimize advertising spend, growing their online site traffic by 94% and online orders by 40%.

A photo of an old photo imagery and printing store in Singapore back in the 80s

FotoHub’s brick and mortar store back in the 80s

An image of a digital printing e-commerce store called FotoHub based in Singapore

FotoHub’s e-store launched in 2020

FotoHub is one of 50 local businesses that participated in DPP. Today, we celebrated them at our first Grow with Google for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) event. Other attendees included Alvin Tan, Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry & Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, industry partners and local business owners. DPP is just one of the many digital training initiatives we've introduced in Singapore, and our training efforts have collectively helped over 9,400 local businesses since 2020.

As the market continues to evolve, we’re committed to continuing our support for SMEs. Here are our three newest skilling initiatives that we announced at today’s event.

15,000 Google Career Certificate scholarships for Singapore businesses

Singaporean SMEs employ over 70% of the local workforce and contribute to over 40% of the country's GDP. Yet, according to local reports, over 60% of SMEs have yet to adopt digital technologies.

To make training opportunities more accessible, we’re extending 15,000 Google Career Certificate (GCC) scholarships until December 2024 at no cost to 300 local businesses across various sectors including retail, tech and travel. The GCC are flexible digital learning programs for those seeking the skills needed for digital marketing, e-commerce, IT support, and more. Prior experience is optional, and learners will earn an industry-recognized credential in three to six months of part-time studying.

Government and industry partners like Enterprise Singapore and SG Tech will help award these scholarships, and we invite SMEs interested in tapping into these scholarships to apply.

Four people on a large indoor stage

From left to right: Nigel Lim, SG Tech's HR Tech workgroup; myself; our guest-of-honour, Mr Alvin Tan, Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry & Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth; and Lee Yee Fung, Executive Director, ICM and Digitalisation, Enterprise SG

New pathways to advanced skills in Data Analytics and Business Intelligence

In addition to helping people jumpstart their careers with entry-level GCC, we’re introducing two new advanced certificates in Business Intelligence and Advanced Data Analytics. With these programs, more Singaporeans can now gain the technical skills they need to take the next step in their career— whether that means taking on a new role, assuming more responsibilities, or gaining a competitive edge in the job market. These advanced certificates build on the foundational skills from the Google Data Analytics Certificate, enabling learners to go deeper in these high-demand fields.

Equal access to skilling programs for underrepresented communities

To ensure more equitable access to skilling opportunities, our philanthropic arm is continuing its support to The Asia Foundation with a 4 million dollar grant to extend their Go Digital ASEAN program into its next phase. This program will help teach SME owners across ASEAN how to use digital tools for their businesses. As part of the program, the Asia Foundation’s local implementing partner in Singapore, Hatch, will train 1,500 businesses— 70% of which are owned by women or underrepresented communities. Training includes digital marketing, responsible and sustainable business practices and more.

By providing these opportunities for small and medium businesses, we hope to support their domestic and international expansion— and at the same time, nurture the growth of Singapore’s economy and communities.

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