With Business sans Borders, a ground-breaking public initiative, Singapore is driving inclusive growth of SME ecosystems in ASEAN and beyond
Today, a hybrid business data and digital solutions hub, Business sans Borders (BSB) is facilitating the matching of demand and supply of goods and services between businesses, including SMEs in Singapore, the ASEAN region and beyond.
The BSB hub has been designed to bring a change in the way SMEs around the world can easily connect digitally with each other. Leveraging Artificial Intelligence, the hub enables streamlined access to better domestic and cross-border business opportunities for SMEs, strengthen the interoperability between SME ecosystems and drive inclusive growth of the SME ecosystem.
Photo Credit: Singapore FinTech Festival
A visionary public initiative led by Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), BSB underwent a nine-month-long proof of concept (POC) performed in collaboration with private sector partners - GlobalLinker, Mastercard, PwC, SAP and Yellow Pages.
The POC demonstrated the technical and business feasibility of the BSB concept. SMEs were matched for trade demand and supply, along with potential services providers (e.g. in finance and logistics) to seamlessly purchase value-added services. The POC also comprised a sandbox innovation space to identify business problem statements, facilitate access to trade data and inclusion of new services for SMEs. In fact, phase one of the POC also saw a lot of external partners from the region connecting to the platform. The first external platform to connect to the BSB Phase One POC system was a key Philippines platform from Union Bank of the Philippines and its FinTech subsidiary UBX.
“With Singapore’s successful completion of the Proof-of-Concept (POC), Mastercard believes that BSB will be the catalytic force that enables SMEs across Asia – including India and key ASEAN countries – to flex and scale seamlessly on the global stage. This digital platform empowers SMEs with transformative access to commercial partnerships and business opportunities that can fuel their growth and cross-border trade,” shared Ari Sarker, Co-President, Asia Pacific Mastercard.
Sharing how the BSB is garnering interest not only from Singapore’s local ecosystem but also overseas trade bodies, Jacqueline Loh, Deputy Managing Director, MAS shared, “BSB seeks to re-imagine the integration of business and financial services, such as SME financing and digitalisation. While this initiative started locally, we are heartened by the strong interest from various parties overseas including trade bodies, SMEs and governments. We look forward to greater local and international collaboration to help realise the full potential of BSB.”
Tan Kiat How, Chief Executive Officer, IMDA, added, “We are encouraged to see more governments joining BSB, and look forward to continuingly working closely with MAS and industry partners to help SMEs everywhere innovate and connect in the digital economy. As BSB continues to grow and bridge e-commerce, government, financing and logistics platforms together, we will further break down barriers to enable SMEs to transform, grow and trade seamlessly across the region and beyond.”
Completing the first phase of POC, Singapore will proceed with the second phase of the Business sans Borders (BSB) pilot project in the first half of 2020.
YourStory is the supporting media partner of SFF X SWITCH.