Southeast Asia’s leading ride-sharing platform Grab on Monday announced a Small Business Booster Program in an effort to help small businesses in the region adapt to the COVID-19 new normal.
The program includes tools and initiatives to make it easier for offline businesses to make the shift online, and helps those already on the Grab platform to expand their visibility and adapt their operations to an increasingly digital-reliant world, the company said.
Grab’s initiative came as people embrace prolonged social distancing measures which have resulted in elevated demand for digital services.
Acknowledging that the infectious disease has accelerated change, Grab Co-founder Hooi Ling Tan said the change brought about by COVID-19 is putting people at risk of widening the digital divide.
“Small businesses make up the backbone of Southeast Asia’s economy, but the vast majority of these businesses are offline. They will need to embrace technology and digitalize or risk falling further behind. Through our Small Business Booster Program, we hope to help small businesses navigate this new normal. We will draw on our technology and reach to find new ways of doing business that can inclusively support everyone,” she said.
The Small Business Booster Program aims to facilitate the digitalization of small businesses -- either by giving them a digital shopfront on the Grab platform or through e-payments integration, Grab said.
The program includes GrabMerchant, an all-in-one, self-serve merchant platform for business owners to help grow their online customer base and optimize their operations as well as the Offline to Online Merchant Support Program, which assist small businesses to set up an e-commerce payment solution.
As part of its plan, Grab said it is working with governments in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand to connect rural entrepreneurs to the digital economy.
“COVID-19 will require exceptional collaborative efforts from all levels of society to overcome. Scientists are working on a vaccine. Policymakers are finding ways to bolster their countries’ economies. Everyday folk are helping to flatten the curve by practicing social distancing,” Tan added.
“Private companies like Grab are using our platform and tech to find ways for even the smallest micro-entrepreneur or business to continue sustaining their livelihoods in these challenging times. The future is uncertain, but Southeast Asia is a community that knows how to face adversity, and thrive,” she noted.
By Park Ga-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)