Fintech For An Inclusive Society – Small And Medium Enterprises
Speech by Mr Ravi Menon, Managing Director of Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)
Besides individuals, small and medium enterprises are the other focus of Singapore’s FinTech agenda for a more inclusive society.
An effective way to enhance the digital inclusion of SMEs is to get them plugged into common digital platforms that will enable them to enhance efficiency and expand their business opportunities.
I will highlight how digital platforms are helping Singapore SMEs in three areas:
- seamless cross-border trade
- enhanced access to global opportunities
- efficient multi-currency payments and settlements
Seamless Cross Border Trade – Networked Trade Platform
In a small market like Singapore, to achieve scale, SMEs will have to sell their goods or services overseas.
- But cross-border trade can be painfully complicated.
- It involves multiple parties: from government agencies, logistics and services providers to trade financiers and insurers, and countless documents often with duplicative data.
Singapore Customs has developed the Networked Trade Platform, or NTP for short.
- NTP is a one-stop trade and logistics ecosystem which digitally connects players across the trade value chain – in Singapore and abroad.
- All documents are digitized and the process is digitalised end-to-end.
- NTP enables SMEs to share information quickly and securely with multiple parties connected within the platform.
- It also enables SMEs to apply for trade financing with multiple banks through a single application portal.
Enhanced Access to Global Opportunities – Business sans Borders
It’s not just cross-border trade that SMEs have to contend with.
- They have to look abroad for business opportunities, for suppliers and customers.
- They have to manage procurement, logistics, and supply chains, also across borders.
To address these pain points, MAS and the Infocomm Media Development Authority have together developed Business Sans Borders, or BSB for short.
- BSB is designed to connect different platforms globally to help SMEs seamlessly access a much larger ecosystem of buyers and sellers.
- It uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to introduce to SMEs essential financing and business solutions from service providers across the BSB network.
- For example, a Singaporean SME seller of kueh lapis, a type of traditional cake, was able to use the pilot BSB platform to connect and trade seamlessly with SME buyers on platforms in India and the Philippines.
- BSB also intuitively matched the seller with a local FinTech firm which provided pre-shipment financing support for the trade.
I am happy to announce that BSB has been operationalised by a private entity Proxtera and is starting its live beta during this Singapore FinTech Festival.