Google offers SMEs free online learning

Singapore joins countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom, in which Google has launched its GCC programme for SMEs. — Bloomberg

SINGAPORE: No talent, no budget and no time to find new customers in digital marketplaces.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore will receive help from Google in addressing these perennial bugbears, with the tech giant offering them 15,000 free places for online learning and promising to make more available if reception is warm.

For a start, 300 companies can apply for the Google-sponsored openings through Enterprise Singapore (EnterpriseSG) and tech association SGTech starting Monday.

Firms can put up as many as 50 employees and expect a response within two weeks of the application’s submission, EnterpriseSG said.

Each employee can select up to eight courses, which could earn him or her eight Google Career Certificates (GCC) in areas such as information technology support, project management, data analytics, user experience design and digital marketing.

Regular learners pay US$49 (RM223) a month for the same courses conducted by online course provider Coursera.

Ben King, managing director of Google Singapore, said on Monday that its research found that six in 10 Singapore workers turn to government awareness programmes for information, explaining the public-private collaboration for the initiative.

Even though no prior relevant experience is needed to enrol in the courses, Google’s internal surveys show that seven in 10 of its GCC badge earners said they got ahead in matters such as pay raises within six months of completion.

Included among these courses for the first time are Google’s advanced modules in data analytics and business intelligence.

These modules offer hands-on experience in tools such as BigQuery, Python and Tableau, and open graduates to job roles such as business intelligence analysts and engineers, senior data analysts and junior data scientists.

The course curricula were made in consultation with subject-matter experts, employers, industry partners and trade associations, said King.

“The goal was to ascertain the skills that will be useful in the real world and ensure that our content is relevant and meets industry standards,” he said.

Singapore joins countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom, in which Google has launched its GCC programme for SMEs.

It accounts for 71% of the city-state’s workforce and over 40% of its national output.

Google will also use part of a US$5.3mil (RM24mil) donation made through its philanthropic arm,, to The Asia Foundation for the training of 1,500 Singapore businesses in digital marketing and sustainable business practices.

Around 70% of the beneficiaries are expected to be firms run by women or underrepresented communities.

Since the recent buzz caused by generative artificial intelligence (AI), tech players such as Microsoft, SAP, Salesforce and Oracle have notched up the race to roll out AI-powered, little or no-coding, cloud-based solutions that can be easily integrated with various apps to target SMEs.

SMEs in Asean will spend almost US$173.6bil (RM791bil) over the next three years on technology investments, according to customer experience solutions provider TDCX, with Singapore SMEs among the top spenders.

Earlier this month, enterprise software giant SAP announced new capabilities that help firms move estimates of corporate, value chain and product-level carbon emissions into real data while also securely exchanging sustainability data with partners and suppliers. — The Straits Times/ANN

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