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Google’s Go Global Expands to Help 2,500 Start-ups in Singapore

99% of businesses in Singapore are start-ups, and they employ 70% of Singapore’s workforce

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BY Jared Carl Millan - 08 Aug 2017

google's go global singapore

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

In 2015, tech giant Google launched its Go Global Initiative in Singapore to help local start-ups reach their full potential by optimizing their digital capabilities. Thus far, the initiative has helped over 1,000 businesses and counting.

The concept of the Go Global initiative is simple: it wants to train Singaporean businesses to grow locally and abroad by equipping them with the right digital tools and knowledge—ultimately giving them an edge by developing their e-commerce capabilities with Google Analytics, Google AdWords, and other CRM tools.

Now the Go Global initiative is expanding its reach by lending its hand to an additional 2,500 start-ups in Singapore.

“Small businesses are a big deal—they are a vital part of the economy,” says Gilberto Gaeta, head of Google Marketing Solutions for Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Emerging Markets. “99% of businesses in Singapore are SMEs, and they employ 70% of Singapore’s workforce.”

Partnering up with industry associations like the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and Singapore infocomm Technology Federation (SiTF), the initiative’s goal is to reach their combined base of 13,650 member companies.

“Go Global was started based on feedback from SMEs who have shared their challenges in making the Internet work for them,” adds Gaeta. “With the rise of e-Commerce and digital, more consumers are researching and purchasing online worldwide. And to grow their businesses beyond the small domestic population, SMEs in Singapore need to get online.”

Local start-ups contribute to almost half of Singapore’s national GDP, and to make sure that growth in the country continues in an upward swing, Google wants to cultivate the ecosystem of SMEs with the support of trade, government, and corporate partners.

“Through this, we hope to tear down the barriers that have stopped small businesses from thinking and acting as big as they might want to,” says Gaeta.

Lending a helping hand

Secretlab was among the first homegrown start-ups to benefit from the initiative. Ian Ang, Secretlab’s co-founder, recalls the beginning of their partnership with Google in 2016 when they found themselves at an impasse.

“To expand Secretlab, we had two options at that time: Either introduce new products, or expand internationally,” he says. “The former would be the easy way out. But we felt that inspiration for a new product should not be forced or it will not end up really good.”

In the end, they decided to expand and dip their feet in international waters with the aim to build their infrastructure and introduce new products later. Around the same time, Google started their initiative and reached out to Secretlab to offer their support.

“We tapped on the grants offered by IE Singapore, and worked with Google’s really smart and dedicated strategy team which gave us better insights and shortfalls that we were not seeing on our digital end,” says Ang. “Our monthly overseas sales volume has as a result increased by 15 times since March 2016.”

Similarly, start-up Castlery was also one of the earliest businesses to tap into Google’s resources and expertise in the digital front.

What started as a modest online furniture retail store, Castlery was in 2014 housed in a 500 sq. ft. warehouse in an industrial area. “There is no way customers would have found us if not for the digital efforts,” says Declan Ee, managing director and co-founder.

Google came to sharpen their digital edge, and in 2015 their business evolved to the point that they became an integrated omnichannel retailer. Castlery even opened their first experience center.

“As of last year, we have successfully optimized campaign-driven marketing and Google was instrumental in supporting various online strategic campaigns, with the most recent one being the Designer programme, Castlery feat,” says Ee.

Interested in being a part of the initiative?

According to Gaeta, you can do so in three steps.

First, you have to visit the Go Global website to sign up for any of the free digital masterclasses or export masterclasses.

Second, you should familiarize yourself with Google’s top 10 tips for SMEs.

Lastly, Gaeta says that you should “identify a digital leader within your firm to grow your company’s digital marketing capabilities and sign up for the five-month training programme developed by Google and AVADO called Squared Online for SMEs.

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