Most multinationals didn’t start out as big companies, with huge venture capital funds or fundraising. Usually, it’s a family affair, or a project among friends. Over time, with a lot of hard work, good products / services, a diversification of the offer and an expansion strategy, some of these companies have grown into large companies. All this to say that you have to start small to build big, and this is especially what motivates everyone starting a small business.
But, sometimes even if all the conditions are met, some companies do not go beyond the national or local level, which is the case for the majority of companies in Malaysia. They are intended for a small commercial scale. This, in no way diminished their contribution to the national economy.
Since last year, physical restrictions resulting from the covid-19 pandemic mean that SMEs have no choice but to turn to digital to reach as many consumers as possible and keep their business alive.
1. How did the government react to Covid 19 impact on the SMEs?
In 2020, the economic repercussions resulting from the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic and the implementation of Movement Control Order (MCO) have definitely impacted the performance of SMEs.
The movement control order, which began in March 2020, confronts companies with major challenges ranging from labor shortages, stock constraints, restricted access to the market, the need to operate remotely and increase operating costs, among others. The physical limitations placed on people and businesses has highlighted the need of technology revolution to overcome the challenges brought by the pandemic.
According to SME Association in Malaysia, about 100,000 companies had to close down due to the current financial crisis, and the ongoing lockdown brings more uncertainties to th SMEs’s future.
Malaysian Government has understood that Digitalization is the way to survive in the tech-driven new normal. One of the long list of measures taken by the government to help ease up the burden of the financial crisis on SMEs is the short-term Economic Recovery Plan (PENJANA).
This government stimulus package is very focused on digitalization of companies. These include budget allocations for the SME Digitalisation Grant and efforts to get small businesses to sell their products on online platforms.
Another stimulus package is the newly-introduced: Small Entrepreneur Digital Empowerment Programme (PUPUK), under the National People’s Well-Being and Economic Recovery Package (PEMULIH). The government is allocating RM200 million to assist micro SMEs and RM100 million for SMEs.
2. Digitalization to survive economic crisis
This hostile environment has pushed local businesses to make adjustments and some to try their hand at digital tools in order to maintain their operations and sales.
However, Industry Revolution 4.0 (4IR)-readiness for digital and technology adoption among micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) remains generally low. 62.7% of SMEs in Malaysia are in the early stage of digital maturity and only 18% has a presence on the internet.
Local businesses need to adopt new technologies and train themselves on digital tools. It’s not enough to be present on the web and to be able to make business online.
SME Corp Malaysia is willing to assist and accompany companies into this digitalization process and provide the tools to help SMEs not only to make business but also to be able to make and stay in contact with all the stakeholders in their industry, in a local scale as well as the international one.
SMEs need to easily get in touch with companies, communicate with players in the same industry and potential customers. That is why SME corp Malaysia commissioned a platform, MatchMe, that combines all these features and more to help SMEs close deals faster.
SME Corp is committed to assist SMEs through its existing programmes and support the development of SMEs with various initiatives announced by the Government, such as the implementation of MyAssist MSME portal (www.myassist-msme.gov.my).
Part of MyAssist portal, MatchMe is a digital platform connecting SME companies with Anchor Companies such as MNCs, GLCs, supermarkets and large companies locally and internationally. Once registered on the platform, members will be able to have access to premium services such as:
This user-friendly platform’s main objective is to save time, cost and increase efficiency as compared to the conventional face-to-face session. Also, finding anchor companies’ representatives in charge of purchase and acquisition is effortless since the information is readily available on the platform. Besides, with the use of digital applications, meetings with the company representative are conducted anytime based on both parties’ availability. More specifically, this platform can be accessed at any time, 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
Digitalization is inevitable.
This digital revolution was accelerated by the current global pandemic but has been coming for years now.
Challenging global economic environment and technological evolution have been the catalyser of the digital revolution for years now.
Most companies had to adapt to the new Digital reality to stay relevant.
SME Corp is committed to assist companies to be technologically equipped to grow and take their businesses to a higher level of success and sustainability.
Appsaya Technologies, a Malaysian tech company was chosen by SME Corp Malaysia to deliver the MatchMe platform.