In this article

Grab, Southeast Asia (SEA)’s leading super app, announced today (August 11) two new initiatives as it marks the celebration of its 10th anniversary and official opening of its Singapore headquarters.

The opening event was led by Anthony Tan, Group CEO and co-founder of Grab, and graced by Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong.

According to Grab, the initiatives — GrabMerchant and GrabScholar — serve as actionable steps for a long-term drive towards inclusive growth and innovation in the region, strengthening the digital economy.

Even though we are in unprecedented times where the global economic outlook is severely turbulent due to the supply chain disruptions, DPM Wong posits that we “do not need to feel intimidated or overly overwhelmed by these challenges, because as Singapore and Grab have done all these years, we can continue to convert our challenges into opportunities for growth.”

Signalling an enhancement in partnership and ties, Grab continues to work with Singapore in the pursuit of creating an inclusive growth where every citizen and every worker matters. 

GrabMerchant empowers SMEs to thrive online

Anthony shared that over 680,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across the region have joined GrabFood and GrabMart, adding that these numbers are expected to increase exponentially considering the delivery industry of food and essentials gaining more traction among consumers. 

This is why Grab has decided to deepen and upskill their merchant-partners, in order to help them adapt to changing times of an increasingly digitised space. 

At the event, Anthony introduced Grab’s plans on launching its first-ever GrabMerchant Centre that will be located at the Grab HQ. This one-stop hub is aimed at empowering SMEs on their platform in digitising their businesses by leveraging the existing GrabFood, GrabMart, GrabFin and GrabAds initiatives. 

Gerai Nenek Obek grab
4th-generation owner of Gerai Nenek Obek, a merchant-partner of Grab sharing how the superapp has supported them / Image credit: Vulcan Post

We will offer solutions not usually available for SMEs. The centre is designed for business consultations, training and operational support, all to help our SME partners learn how to optimise their online presence.

– Anthony Tan, Group CEO and co-founder, Grab

The personal business consultations allow merchant-partners to consult Grab Account Managers, who can provide specific advice on long-term growth plans and actionable insights. Merchants can also subscribe to the “Merchant Concierge Service”, a prioritised hotline to get this direct assistance, essentially improving reducing downtime and increasing efficiency.

As such, these small businesses can expect to unlock their full potential, since they can also grasp new business opportunities through the various networking sessions and workshops, ultimately helping them thrive in the digital space.

Fostering tech talents with GrabScholar

Another new initiative that Grab is rolling out is the GrabScholar programme, where a commitment of US$1 million from the GrabForGood Fund is used to disburse over 2,000 university scholarships and educational bursaries annually across all markets in which Grab operates in. 

It is set to cover fees related to tuition and study-related expenses for underprivileged students to attend primary, secondary or vocational schools as well as universities. On top of that, there will be internship opportunities offered to tertiary students to develop their professional aptitude and future careers. 

The idea behind this dates back seven years ago in 2015, when Grab was still far from where it is now. 

[W]e were one of the first companies in the “Internet tech” space to invest in an R&D centre in Singapore. It was a decision many questioned — we were told the talent pool was too small — but we did it anyway.

This was because of the strong support provided by the Singapore government, as well as our belief in the longer-term benefits of building hyperlocal tech, and the resolve to develop strong local tech talent along the way.

– Anthony Tan, Group CEO and co-founder, Grab

Observing how Grab has grown to eight R&D centres across SEA, which allows for global collaboration and cross-learning, Tan said that this GrabScholar programme is an extension of their ethos of strengthening education, which is seen as the backbone of the region’s future. 

“It is a fundamental right that should be enjoyed by all,” he emphasises. DPM Wong shares similar sentiments, and believes that “investing in and creating equal opportunities for Southeast Asian talent development” is crucial.  

With this programme in place, Grab contributes by creating a strong group of local tech talent, nurturing SEA’s future workforce.

Developing hyperlocal tech with GrabMaps

Besides aiding merchant-partners, Grab plans to increase support for its riders through GrabMaps, its in-house map and location-based technology.

Compared to conventional digital maps that may omit the smallest of alleys or side streets that are present in many Southeast Asian cities, GrapMaps offers an accurate, hyperlocal view of Southeast Asia thanks to the usage of crowdsourced data from their fleet of driver-partners.

Since starting GrabMaps five years ago, we’ve helped map over 800,000km of missing roads in SEA, including the little lorongs. GrabMaps helps our driver-partners be more productive, while our consumers get their food or reach their destinations faster. 

– Anthony Tan, Group CEO and co-founder, Grab

With its artificial intelligence (AI)-powered camera Kartacam — designed specifically for map-making, that is attached to their driver-partners’ helmets or windshields — street imagery, street names and traffic signs can be captured.

Grab’s machine-learning and AI algorithms then make use of these collected imagery and data for GrabMaps.

GrabMaps Kartacam
Grab makes use of artificial intelligence for GrabMaps / Image credit: Vulcan Post

In line with the government’s objectives of developing hyperlocal technology to solve problems for SEA, Anthony projects that Grab will continue to untangle complex, societal problems in the region. 

As we celebrate Grab’s 10th anniversary this year, we hope that our announcements today will help small businesses and our future workforce upskill and maximise their opportunities, even in this challenging macro environment. 

Providing access to digital tools can be a powerful way to ensure all Southeast Asians can equally participate in – and benefit from – the rising digital economy, the same way 10 years ago when our driver-partners learned how to use their smartphones to earn incomes.

– Anthony Tan, group CEO and co-founder, Grab

Featured image credit: Grab

Also read: A cut above the rest: How the Lim siblings grew SK Jewellery into one of S’pore’s leading jewellers

Subscribe to our newsletter

Stay updated with Vulcan Post weekly curated news and updates.


Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)

Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)