JOHOR BARU: Forty-five exporters have the opportunity to expand and venture into international markets this year, thanks to the Services Export Fund (SEF) scheme under the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade).
Matrade’s southern regional office director Zuaziezie Zulkefli said there has been an encouraging uptrend in the approval of the SEF scheme for exporters in the first five months of this year.
In 2016, only 19 exporters applied for the SEF, he said, while in 2017 applications increased to 57. Last year there were 65 applications, and this year, as at May, the number was already 45 – leaving an optimistic outlook for the number to rise further in the remainder of 2019.
The SEF scheme provides assistance to Malaysian service providers, trade and industry associations, chambers of commerce, and professional bodies.
“The assistance is extended in the form of 50% reimbursable grant, and the application must be made to Matrade,” said Zuaziezie.
(There is also soft loan assistance under SEF but this application must be directed to the Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Bhd or MIDF).
“Each company is eligible for a maximum RM5mil (combined value for the reimbursable grant and soft loan),” he said, adding that the five-year fund that was introduced in 2015 would end next year.
He urged exporters to take advantage of the fund’s benefits, saying that there are various activities that eligible Malaysian exporters could do with the grant.
An company that has been in operation for a year and have 60% equity owned by Malaysians could apply for the SEF.
“If they are involved in promoting Malaysian expertise in services at international events overseas as speaker in conferences, forums, conventions, and participating in services industry-related competitions, then they are eligible for a RM50,000 grant per company, and it covers their hotel stay and air ticket,” he shared.
Zuaziezie said exporters could also enjoy a grant of RM150,000 per company for expenses incurred in the initial 12 months for the setting-up of their representative office overseas.
“This is to help Malaysian exporters establish their presence in international markets,” he said.
He pointed out that Malaysian exporters involved in conducting feasibility studies for specific international projects abroad are entitled to reimbursable grants up to RM3mil per company.
“If they have to do a presentation to potential clients for assessing business and projects overseas, they are eligible for assistance up to RM50,000 per company,” he added.
Zuaziezie said exporters could also apply for a maximum RM1mil per company for logistics costs for sending Malaysian products or equipment for projects abroad implemented by Malaysian services companies (port to port).
“The products or equipment must be made in Malaysia,” he emphasised.
The Matrade regional director shared details of the SEF scheme with The Star recently while presenting on Going Global with Matrade at the Export Excellence Awards 2019 roadshow here.
“More than 10 sectors are covered by the SEF, and that includes oil and gas, logistics, legal, accounting, franchising, construction as well as maintenance, repair and overhaul,” he added.
PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd chief operating officer Png Tean Hau, who presented A Guide Through the Maze of Export Logistics, said there are five major categories of items that “move” in the exporting process – products, documents, information, money and risks.
He reminded business heads to take extra care with each category so as to avoid any additional costs later.
“For instance, when the goods will arrive, which shipping, who is the importer – this is important information as costs will be incurred if not noted,” he said, adding that exporters should find the right logistics partner to help with the documentation to ensure the smooth flow of goods to key clients.
The Export Excellence Awards 2019 roadshows provided a platform for entrepreneurs and businesses to share best practices and challenges faced by Malaysian companies in the export industry.
Star Media Group in partnership with Standard Chartered launched the inaugural Export Excellence Awards 2019, with PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd as co-sponsor and Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) as patron.
The seven main award categories are electrical and electronics; oil and gas; chemical, mineral and alloy; agriculture; machinery, equipment and automation; services; and other industries. Three companies will receive the Exporter of the Year title, while a special award will be given in the halal products category.
Deadline for entry submission is Aug 16, and winners will be announced at the awards ceremony in November. For details, go to exportawards.com.my.