SMEs will receive more support to adopt AI with the new alliance between S’pore and Microsoft

SINGAPORE – More small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore will be supported to integrate artificial intelligence (AI) into their processes.

A new partnership between Microsoft, commercial agency Enterprise Singapore (EnterpriseSG) and the national AI Singapore program (AISG) was announced at the Pan Pacific Hotel on May 21.

The partnership will help more than 1,000 local SMEs increase their productivity using Microsoft Copilot, an artificial intelligence assistant introduced in 2023 that can be used within Microsoft applications such as PowerPoint and Word.

EnterpriseSG will subsidize 50 percent of Microsoft Copilot license costs for eligible SMEs over a 12-month period, with each business able to purchase up to 50 user licenses at the subsidized rate.

Microsoft and EnterpriseSG will also work with AISG to help SMEs develop AI capabilities and educate them on the responsible use of AI beyond Microsoft Copilot.

Microsoft also announced during the event that it has partnered with the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) to boost the AI ​​capabilities of digitally mature SMEs.

The company will host workshops and provide technology advice to more than 200 SMEs to identify business needs over the next two years, while IMDA will fund eligible businesses to develop and deploy their generative AI solutions.

Businesses can take advantage of Microsoft’s generative AI tools, such as Azure OpenAI and Copilot.

IMDA has been working with technology providers through its SME Go Digital program to support digitalization in SMEs since 2017. Going forward, IMDA said it will collaborate with Microsoft to help technology providers integrate generative AI capabilities and Copilot, giving SMEs access to more generative AI. solutions.

The agreements are part of Microsoft’s AI Pinnacle program, which launched in March 2024 with security services provider Certis, the Home Team Science and Technology Agency, Mediacorp, engineering services firm Seatrium and the national security agency. Synapxe healthcare technology.

Microsoft Singapore CEO Lee Hui Li said on May 21 that the tech giant is excited to help SMEs adopt AI to increase their productivity.

“We want to create an ecosystem where leaders are empowered to develop an AI strategy and roadmap for their organizations, and where employees are equipped with the skills, tools and technology to thrive in the age of AI,” he said.

Speaking at Microsoft’s launch ceremony on May 21, Vice Premier Gan Kim Yong noted that the rise of generative AI has expanded opportunities for both businesses and workers.

Companies can use AI to boost productivity in core business functions, foster product and service innovation, and deliver superior customer experiences, he said.

Gan, who is also Minister of Trade and Industry, emphasized the importance of recognizing the different needs of companies with different levels of maturity when helping them adopt AI.