FinLab is a four-month digital transformation program that was set up by the United Overseas Bank (Malaysia) in collaboration with SGInnovate in the year 2015. It was set up to promote innovation of financial technology (FinTech) in companies and accelerate the digital transformation of the businesses. FinLab’s portfolio covers the entire FinTech ranging from lending technology to blockchain. FinLab focusses on providing the best fintech products to important sectors like wealth management, investment advisory, and Educational sectors. It also acts as a catalyst to digitally transform business houses for the betterment of the economy of a country. Though the onus of FinLab lies in building the business models and providing solutions for business expansions, it provides the companies (those are within their program) in the ASEAN region with the most valuable insights to grow their businesses more effectively. Through this program, Asian investors will get access to European fintech companies.
So far, FinLab has delivered two acceleration cycles for the growth of the fintech companies chosen from more than 48 countries all across the globe with 1000 plus applications. The third acceleration cycle program that FinLab is planning to implement focusses on helping SMEs (small and medium enterprises) on their digital transformation and matching some of the selected SMEs with innovative FinTech and technology solutions. In this article, we shall talk about the third innovative cycle of FinLab.
Smart Business Transformation Program
In the third acceleration program, FinLab plans to implement the Smart Business Transformation Program. Through this program, it aims at innovating and digitizing high scale growth for the SMEs by providing the SME owners, with appropriate growth mobilization tools to increase revenues and productivity by expanding new markets and leveraging the curated fintech and technology solutions. The venue for this program was decided to be Thailand. The program will run in collaboration with the NSTDA or the National Science and Technology Development Agency, Digital Economy Promotion Agency, the OSMEP or the Office of SMEs Promotion and The FinLab. Eight SMEs will be chosen various sectors like food and beverage, wholesale trade, retail, and logistics industries.
Pauline Sim, the Co-Head, of FinLab, commented in this regard,“It is not an easy task for established SMEs to make the changes, but this is why we are coordinating such program. We want everyone to benefit from the technology development. We want every business to have equal opportunity to stay ahead in the industry by applying simple solutions that would benefit everyone from business owners to consumers”.
SMEs Already Assisted
The program was first designed by a local accelerator of SMEs in Singapore in the year 2018 that aspired to grow and to self-innovate. The first Smart Business Transformation program was run in Singapore and it collaborated with 11 SMEs from sectors like retail, wholesale trade, healthcare, construction, and tourism.
Throughout the program, The FinLab will assist the SMEs with technical knowhow to identify various issues related to business and help them to go digital. SMEs will also be matched with FinTech and technology solutions to implement digitalization to address the issues. The Thai government wants to raise SMEs contribution to 50% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by the end of 2025, which is 36% more than in 2018. With 3 million SMEs that comprised 99.7% of Thai companies in 2018, the performance of SMEs is very important to the country’s economic growth and GDP growth.