SINGAPORE – Despite a crippling global recession last year, the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) managed to facilitate 15 Singapore-based small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to set up shop abroad and plans to double that number this year.

The Federation on Friday (Feb 19) signed up UOB and Keppel Land as strategic partners to further speed up internationalisation of local SMEs.

Since its launch in November 2019, GlobalConnect  @  SBF has assisted more than 2,500 Singapore businesses and last year enabled their overseas ventures in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, USA and Turkey.

Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing witnessed the signing ceremony and met several of the business owners and their teams that successfully ventured overseas with SBF’s assistance.

UOB will act as the GlobalConnect  @  SBF’s financial partner, while Keppel Land will assist Singapore investors locate their business in its serviced co-offices located in Singapore and other Asean countries.

Mr Darius Lim, assistant chief executive officer, Global Business, at SBF said the federation also provided more than 900 specific market advisories to local SMEs.

“It’s just the first year, and we intend to scale this up quite rapidly,” said Mr Lim. “We expect to see this number easily double in the second year.”

GlobalConnect @ SBF was set up by SBF in partnership with Enterprise Singapore to support companies on their expansion plans. Its focus is on Asean, frontier and emerging markets, FTA (free trade agreement) education and outreach, and markets along the Belt and Road.

SBF is working with another 11 strategic partners to expand the range and depth of expertise available to Singapore SMEs for their overseas expansion, it said in a statement.

It has also established two Singapore Enterprise Centres (SECs) – one in Jakarta and one in Ho Chi Minh City. The SEC @ Jakarta and SEC @ Ho Chi Minh City are staffed by SBF’s local market advisors with in-depth knowledge about their respective markets.

Mr Tan Soon Kim, Assistant Chief Executive Officer of Enterprise Singapore said: “From gathering market information, to identifying business leads and navigating the evolving business environment in this region, GlobalConnect @ SBF can support enterprises to secure partnerships and opportunities in Southeast Asia.”

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