Moderated a webinar discussion on digitalization and micro-businesses, 14 October 2020
Updated: Jan 2, 2021
The diverse panel consisted of Mr S Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information & Minister-in-Charge of Trade Relations; Mr Yee Weng Tang, Managing Director, Grab; Mr Melvin Chew, Founder of Hawkers United - Dabao 2020, Owner of Jin Ji Teochew Braised Duck and Kway Chap; and Mr Yeo Hiang Meng, BBM, President of The Federation of Merchants' Associations, Singapore.
Kenneth Paul Tan: "It really goes without saying that Covid-19 has caused disruption to many businesses, especially micro-businesses including hawkers. They often do not have the resources and sometimes even the inclination to pivot their business models digitally in such a short and difficult period of time. It’s often argued though, from even before the current pandemic, that enterprises of all scales need to adapt and to adopt digital solutions in order to thrive, perhaps even just to survive. In this webinar, we hope to discuss the government’s efforts to support digitalisation through more recent programmes such as Hawkers Go Digital and Heartlands Go Digital, as well as older pre-COVID programmes like SMEs Go Digital that has been in place since 2017. We want to find out more about the challenges faced within the micro-enterprise community, especially hawkers, in their digitalization journey and, in particular, what could be done better. We also want to explore the potential of ground up initiatives, whether in the private or people sectors, to help bridge the digital gap in the ecosystem."