More support to help SMES Internationalise with iTALENT solutions map and iSKILLS talent development programme

Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) looking to expand their business overseas can tap on the new Internationalisation Talent (iTalent) Solutions Map and Internationalisation Skills (iSkills) Talent Development Programme to build their capabilities and skills.


iTalent Solutions Map

The iTalent Solutions Map was developed through a collaboration between SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) and the International Trading Institute at Singapore Management University (ITI@SMU), with support from Enterprise Singapore (ESG). It identifies critical internationalisation skills that enterprises need to develop in their workforce in order to operate effectively overseas. It was launched by Mr Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry and Education today at SMU.

In developing the iTalent Solutions Map, ITI@SMU conducted a 12-month research study which involved 60 ‘internationalisers’, including industry experts, academia, SME owners and employees from more than 30 Singapore-based companies. They provided insights into the opportunities and challenges faced before and during internationalisation, and the skills required to support their overseas businesses. The companies involved in the study include Commune, FoodXervices and Health Management International. More information on the iTalent Solutions Map is in Annex A.

iSkills Talent Development Programme

Building on the iTalent Solutions Map, ITI@SMU designed the iSkills Talent Development, with Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) as its knowledge partner, to equip individuals with the necessary skills for internationalisation.

The six-month programme adopts an applied learning model that combines classroom, online and experiential learning. Participants will undertake real-life internationalisation projects with guidance from mentors assigned to them, experience overseas immersion modules, and participate in country clinics and sharing sessions with business and industry leaders.

The curriculum is designed to meet the skills needs of employees across various levels:

  • Senior management level participants will be equipped with skills such as leadership, critical thinking, decision-making, digitalisation and cultural competence, to enable them to perform the functions of an entrepreneur, a strategy visionary and a master relationship builder.

  • Junior and mid-level management participants will be equipped with skills such as project management, effective communication and cultural competence, which will help them perform the roles of a project manager and facilitator.

The one-year pilot of the iSkills Talent Development Programme will be conducted by ITI@SMU and NP, with the first course-run commencing in September 2019. So far, 18 SMEs have committed to sending their employees for this run. More information on the Programme is in Annex B.

Mr Ng Cher Pong, Chief Executive of SSG, said, “We are committed to helping companies, especially SMEs, build skilled talent who can seize opportunities in international markets.  Through the collaboration with ITI@SMU, we are making available useful insights and relevant training required to better prepare our companies and their workforce for overseas expansion. We will work with more partners to expand the iSkills Talent Development Programme so that more companies can benefit from it.”

Professor Timothy Clark, SMU Provost, said, “In the current dynamic and disruptive landscape, I am convinced that all stakeholders must work together to address the urgent need to help Singapore-based firms embrace internationalisation through human capital development. Over the years, SMU has developed an excellent track record built on its practice-based and hands-on curriculum, both for undergraduates and mid-career switchers.  As an Institute of Higher Learning, I am pleased that our University now has this opportunity to play our part in providing a transformative education for SMEs that will serve to enhance their global footprint and relevance.  We aim for these efforts to go a long way in shaping the next generation of local business leaders and talent for Singapore.”