SINGAPORE: Retailers in Singapore and the region now have a one-stop centre offering expertise and support to boost their businesses locally and abroad.
Launched by the Singapore Management University (SMU) on Tuesday (Oct 10), the Retail Centre of Excellence (RCoE) at the SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business on Stamford Road offers research and insights to retailers and helps businesses attract and develop talents.
It is touted as the first insight-sharing hub in Singapore that generates such knowledge for retailers in Asia.
At the launch, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Sim Ann said that the centre will aim to position Singapore as a “thought leader for the retail industry” in the Asia-Pacific region by recognising wider retail trends.
In today’s digital economy, businesses face new challenges such as intensified competition, skills gaps, integration of brick-and-mortar and online operations and data analytics, Ms Sim said.
“Retailers will have a key resource to learn about and adopt retail best practices from Singapore and beyond,” said Ms Sim. “It aims to achieve this through a focus on retail-specific research and by building the talent pipeline of Asia Pacific retail leaders and professionals.”
The centre is a joint initiative involving the university, enterprise development agency SPRING Singapore and the Economic Development Board.
It will offer a curriculum that includes leadership training and internships for students and masterclasses for industry players and entrepreneurs.
A new Retail Services Management Track for undergraduates has been introduced for business, accountancy, economics, social sciences and information system students.
The first batch of students from this track are expected to graduate by April 2019.
“Through the work of the new Retail Centre of Excellence, we will be able to nurture a pipeline of young talent who will be excited to make retail their career and to contribute fresh ideas and perspectives.
Retail organisations will also benefit from research by our faculty experts, offering evidence-based insights of relevance to business and industry,” said SMU Provost Professor Lily Kong.
The centre will devote a large part of its work on tackling industry challenges and helping retailers raise productivity and innovation levels.
Research from experts will be shared with retailers to enhance industry knowhow, with an eye on helping players grow their business locally and abroad.