PETALING JAYA: More people are signing up for the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission's (MCMC) RM1,000 Get Malaysian Business Online (GMBO) grant for small-medium businesses, though the overall response still appears somewhat lukewarm.
With nearly 2,400 applications received and about 2,200 approved since early June, the MCMC said that the response to the grant has been picking up.
"In terms of applications, we're averaging at 310 per week, a slight increase," said MCMC secretariat planning & coordination department head Azizan Mohd Afandi.
He said that by late August, the MCMC had received 10,386 applications and approved 3,950 of them. Another 3,061 were still pending while 181 applications had been rejected.
This was a cry from the 1st week of June, which saw a mere 6,886 businesses applying for the grant, and only 1,550 approved then.
Announced in Budget 2013, it is offered on a first-come-first-served basis for up to 50,000 businesses, and ends when the limit is reached or on Dec 31 this year.
In order to get the grant, applicants need to create a website with a .my domain and add in their company's background, services offered and their contact details.
It is meant for companies earning not more than RM200,000 a year with less than 10 employees.
Even with a greater response, the MCMC only expects to reach 14,000 approved applications by year's end, 36,000-short.
Azizan said MCMC was working hard to utilise the remaining spaces as soon as possible.
"There is a possibility that it (the end date) can be extended," he said.
Asked why local businesses were seemingly not interested in the grant, Azizan suggested that some might have felt that online marketing was not needed for their business.
"Some people may feel that Internet marketing is not essential...Getting the right target market (for the grant) is a challenge," he said.
To apply for the GMBO grant, visit its website at gmbo.skmm.gov.my.