Export facilitation, assistance for SMEs

The Malaysian export market is growing and is a potential area for local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs to explore.

As such, many training and financial agencies are available to assist and facilitate Malaysian SMEs and companies to be export-ready.

The Market Penetration Forum at the Selangor International Halal Convention (SELHAC) 2023 featured the ‘SME Export Development – Facilitation & Assistance for Business to Export’ forum, which highlighted several of the facilities and assistance available to local SMEs and entrepreneurs.

SME Corporation Malaysia’s (SME Corp) International Cooperation Division director, Amrul Nazri Abdullah, shared that SME Corp served as the central point of reference for research and data dissemination on SMEs and entrepreneurs. It also provides business advisory services for SMEs and entrepreneurs throughout the country.

Apart from the business advisory, he added that SME Corp also provided accreditation services to validate the SME status of all business establishments to ensure that the targeted assistance and incentives by the government are delivered.

Selangor Youth Community (SAY), a leading youth network founded by Raja Muda Selangor Tengku Amir Shah, has several flagship programmes to assist Selangor’s youth entrepreneurs.

“We identified the gaps in the entrepreneurship ecosystem. Most youth entrepreneurs have sound business models but lacked the knowledge and facilities to expand and maximise their business,” said SAY manager Abdullah Muaz Norman.

“We established our signature programme, SAY Aspire, in 2018 to help youth entrepreneurs grow their businesses and penetrate the global market.”

The programme is open for registration annually for youth-owned SMEs interested in exporting their products and services.

Export training will be provided to selected businesses and companies. They are required to undergo interview sessions and showcase their export plans at the end of the programme. The winner will receive the SAY Aspire grant, including a trade advisor to help them penetrate the selected foreign market.

Bazilah Dalila Omar, the Corporate Equity acting manager for the Bumiputera Agenda Driving Unit (Teraju) said the strategic organisation under the Prime Minister’s Department is tasked with overseeing the formation of the entrepreneurial culture across various levels to push the Bumiputeras as successful entrepreneurs.

One such programme under Teraju is the High-Performing Bumiputera Companies Programme (Teras), established in 2011.

“Teras monitors and ensures high-potential Bumiputera companies grow in the local, regional, and global markets,” said Bazilah.

“The Teras Fund aims to facilitate the companies’ business expansion under the programme. Allocation under the Teras Fund is for working capital and asset purchases.

“The fund is provided in collaboration between Teraju and financial institutions, and is managed entirely by RHB Islamic and Hong Leong Islamic Bank.”

Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd’s SME banking division director, Rizal Yusof, shared some of Bank Islam’s financial support and solutions for SMEs.

“The SME Exporter Financing programme, jointly developed by Bank Islam and Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE), is one such financing package exclusively for MATRADE-registered SME members to expand into the global market. We have about a RM100 million allocation for this programme.”

He added that banks usually had relevant products and services to support smaller and ‘unbankable’ SMEs until they are financially worthy.

“Bank Islam offers the GO Halal SME Financing Programme, which helps to maximise the business by positioning themselves as a halal business.” @Halal