DBS launches Bridging Business Horizons Programme to help companies expand and capture regional business opportunities

Singapore.03 Jun 2024

Holistic programme aims to engage 1,000 businesses to help them expand into new markets to capture business opportunities

Initiative leverages DBS’ extensive regional network and expertise with support from the Singapore Business Federation and Enterprise Singapore

Singapore, 03 Jun 2024 - DBS today announced a holistic programme to equip small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and mid-sized corporations from both Singapore and across the region, effectively expand into new markets to capture business opportunities. The Bridging Business Horizons programme combines DBS’ extensive regional footprint and deep industry knowledge, with the expertise of partners including Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and support of government agencies such as Enterprise Singapore (EnterpriseSG).

(L-R) Koh Kar Siong, Group Head of Corporate and SME Banking, DBS; Cindy Khoo, Managing Director, Enterprise Singapore; Han Kwee Juan, Group Executive, Singapore Country Head, DBS; Kok Ping Soon, Chief Executive Officer, Singapore Business Federation; Sharon Tan, Chief Operating Officer, DBS Singapore; at the launch of DBS’ Bridging Business Horizons programme on 3 June 2024. This holistic programme aims to help businesses from Singapore and across the region expand into new markets to capture business opportunities. 

Research has shown that some 57% of Singapore businesses[1] are keen on overseas expansion to capture commercial opportunities from Southeast Asia’s growing middle class, rapid urbanisation and expanding digital economy. However, companies are facing more headwinds than ever before from increased market volatility, higher business costs and limited resources, as well as the lack of a strong support network – which make entering unfamiliar markets a potentially risky undertaking.

The Bridging Business Horizons programme is designed to help companies bridge these gaps by providing a one-stop solution across three key pillars:

  • Discover: Learn about various pathways to internationalisation and discover new market opportunities
  • Develop: Gain insights into a target market such as the business landscape and regulatory environment to develop a more effective entry strategy
  • Deepen: Connect with in-market experts and partners to deepen their onshore networks for sustained growth

In addition, businesses will be able to tap financing solutions from DBS and resources from programme partners for greater support to scale up their operations.

The programme aims to engage 1,000 Singapore and overseas companies through a series of exclusive networking sessions, insights sharing and workshops. For example, companies can access specialised advisory services to learn how to leverage various Singapore free trade agreements that can help make their exports more competitive.

DBS will also work with partners to plan various in-market engagements to help businesses deepen their understanding, as well as connect and build new relationships in target markets. These include China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, and Taiwan – locales where the bank has a strong presence.

Registration is free, and companies can enquire or enrol at this link.

Han Kwee Juan, Group Executive, Singapore Country Head, DBS, said: “Since DBS’ inception, the bank has played a significant role in financing Singapore’s fledgling industries and growing new ones. The Bridging Business Horizons programme leverages the collective wisdom and resources of the bank plus our partners, to create a holistic programme that helps SMEs to enter new regional markets and accelerate business growth with insights and connections. We are pleased to be collaborating with the Singapore Business Federation, Enterprise Singapore and other agencies to help put a new generation of Singapore businesses on the regional map.”

Koh Kar Siong, Group Head of Corporate and SME Banking, Institutional Banking, DBS, said: “DBS has had the privilege of partnering thousands of companies in their respective growth journeys over the years. While each path to internationalisation is unique, we have identified key enablers to help businesses develop a robust overseas growth strategy. The Bridging Business Horizons programme takes these learnings and applies them in a structured, modular approach – with support from our partners – to help more companies effectively scale their operations.”

Kok Ping Soon, Chief Executive Officer of SBF, said: “We are delighted to partner DBS in the Bridging Business Horizons programme. This initiative complements SBF’s existing efforts to help businesses scale internationally through our advisory services, business missions and network of Singapore Enterprise Centres across the region. As a programme partner, our goal is to help more companies leverage Singapore’s network of Free Trade Agreements to reduce tariffs and improve market access through our advisory services. We look forward to a strong collaboration with DBS in our collective aim to empower more Singaporean companies to expand their businesses overseas.”

Cindy Khoo, Managing Director of EnterpriseSG, said: “Given Singapore’s limited domestic market, internationalisation must be a cornerstone of our companies’ growth strategy. It is only when companies venture overseas that they can access a wider pool of customers and other market opportunities, to achieve scale and grow their businesses. Going overseas also helps companies keep abreast of innovative ideas and technologies. We are heartened that DBS is leading the efforts with industry to support SMEs with their expansion plans in the region and encourage our companies to come onboard this new programme for their internationalisation needs.”

Rachel Lim, Co-founder of Love, Bonito, said: "We are grateful for the enduring partnership with DBS since our beginnings as a blogshop. As our primary banking partner, DBS has been instrumental in our growth from an online store to a global brand with physical retail outlets across key markets. With utmost trust that our banking needs are well handled, we have been able to focus on celebrating and uplifting Asian women globally through our offerings."

The Bridging Business Horizons is the latest in the bank’s ongoing efforts to help businesses transform and scale - by offering advisory and convening an ecosystem of partners to achieve their business objectives. For example, DBS in partnership with EnterpriseSG, launched the ESG Ready Programme in April to help local businesses build capability and capacity in sustainability.

[1] National Business Survey 2023/2024, Singapore Business Federation


About DBS
DBS is a leading financial services group in Asia with a presence in 19 markets. Headquartered and listed in Singapore, DBS is in the three key Asian axes of growth: Greater China, Southeast Asia and South Asia. The bank's "AA-" and "Aa1" credit ratings are among the highest in the world.

Recognised for its global leadership, DBS has been named “World’s Best Bank” by Global Finance, “World’s Best Bank” by Euromoney and “Global Bank of the Year” by The Banker. The bank is at the forefront of leveraging digital technology to shape the future of banking, having been named “World’s Best Digital Bank” by Euromoney and the world’s “Most Innovative in Digital Banking” by The Banker. In addition, DBS has been accorded the “Safest Bank in Asia“ award by Global Finance for 15 consecutive years from 2009 to 2023.

DBS provides a full range of services in consumer, SME and corporate banking. As a bank born and bred in Asia, DBS understands the intricacies of doing business in the region’s most dynamic markets.

DBS is committed to building lasting relationships with customers, as it banks the Asian way. Through the DBS Foundation, the bank creates impact beyond banking by supporting businesses for impact: enterprises with a double bottom-line of profit and social and/or environmental impact. DBS Foundation also gives back to society in various ways, including equipping underserved communities with future-ready skills and helping them to build food resilience.

With its extensive network of operations in Asia and emphasis on engaging and empowering its staff, DBS presents exciting career opportunities. For more information, please visit www.dbs.com.