Bumiputera entrepreneurs in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) should tap into the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) and go big in the field of e-commerce as the digital zone will generate US$38 billion in exports and create 60,000 jobs by the year 2025. - International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed (Bernama photo)

KUALA TERENGGANU: Bumiputera entrepreneurs in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) should tap into the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) and go big in the field of e-commerce as the digital zone will generate US$38 billion in exports and create 60,000 jobs by the year 2025.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said through such a marketing platform, about 1,500 Bumiputera SMEs could participate with China’s billion dollar conglomerate AliBaba.com.

He said SME Corp Malaysia was working on various programmes with its strategic partners like Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MdeC), Pos Malaysia, Lazada, Google, 11 Street and Facebook Avana to promote the online trading tool e-dagang.

“To propagate the dissemination of information and assistance to rural areas, SME Corp has launched SME Hub on Wheels.

“This is an advisory service and mobile information centre that will reach out to budding entrepreneurs at carnivals and expositions throughout the country,” said Mustapa at the National SME Week 2017 launch at the Terengganu Trade Centre.

Present at the launch, themed Mula Berdikit, Azam Melangit (Start Small, Determination Soars), was Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman.

Mustapa said Terengganu, too, had similar initiatives via its Mini Maha, My Best Farm Outlet, One District One Industry, food truck carnivals and halal workshops.

Just last year alone, he said, 291activities nationwide had been organised, involving 2,677 SMEs which drew the participation of 484,934 people at the SME Week 2016 event that generated RM8.26 million in sales.

Mustapa added SMEs contributed immensely to the rise of the national exports, up by 24.1 per cent in in March this year.

“SMEs account for 98.5 per cent of businesses in Malaysia, contributing 36.3 per cent of the gross domestic product, 65.5 per cent of labour intensive jobs and 17.6 per cent of exports,” said Mustapa.

Terengganu alone, he said, had received RM1.32 billion in funds for loans and grants for three years beginning 2014.

Last year, RM500 million was channelled via loans to 33,000 SMEs, while another RM7.7 million through grants to 700 SMEs, he added.

“More than 500 training programmes for 36,000 entrepreneurs and another 166 promotional events for 7,000 budding businessmen had been organised,” said Mustapa.

For the country, as a whole, he said RM5.59 billion in loans and grants had been dished out by SME Corp to 43,000 applicants as of March this year.

Of the amount, RM223.7 million or 4 per cent was allocated to 1,200 entrepreneurs in Terengganu.

Mustapa cited the success story of Terengganu soccer player Hairuddin Omar, or Hai O, setting up his own business four years ago through Adeq Sue Resources Sdn Bhd to produce ikan bakar (grilled fish) paste.

“Another Terengganu entrepreneur, MGV Industries Sdn Bhd, has managed to build a brand name for Upin and Ipin carbonated drinks, clinching RM44.4 million in sales in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Similary, Avialite Sdn Bhd has managed to produce light emitting diodes using green technology at its Gong Badak factory in Terengganu,” said Mustapa.

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