KUALA LUMPUR: The recent Star Outstanding Business Awards (SOBA) 2021 #SOS: Save Our SMEs webinar revealed that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are still seeking a sustainable path forward post-Covid-19.
The “Is your business under threat?” webinar was hosted by TV personality and entrepreneur Naz Rahman in Bahasa Malaysia.
The Covid-19 period has been a tough road for SMEs, with the Malay Chamber of Commerce Malaysia vice-president Amirhamzah Karim saying that going forward, entrepreneurs must depend on their capabilities to navigate the changing business landscape to succeed.
Malaysia External Trade Development Corp (Matrade) transformation and digital trade division senior director Amran Yem added that although the SMEs would face many challenges in terms of exports, there are government agencies such as Matrade to help them penetrate new markets with their products and services.
“Aside from the Pemerkasa stimulus package, Matrade has also done its own programmes to lessen the burden of SMEs not only financially, but also training them in areas which they require assistance such as packaging, labelling, standards certification and practical market intelligence,” he said.
Credit Guarantee Cor Malaysia Bhd (CGC) bumiputra development and products senior vice-president Mohamed Azman Mohamed Taufik said CGC could assist the SMEs in various ways through developmental programmes and financial advisory services.
He said: “For the SMEs that are unable to obtain financing, they can look up MyKNP for advice on improving their creditworthiness.”
RHB Bank Bhd group retail distribution SME regional sales head Noor Hidayat Noordin said SMEs must do their due diligence in terms of the five Cs of credit, namely character, capacity, capital, collateral and conditions.
“The most important factors are character and capacity. Character refers to the borrower’s repayment records, so payments must be on time. If the SMEs face any issues in repaying their loans, they should immediately approach their banks to discuss restructuring options.
“Capacity is the ratio of income compared with debt, which is used by bankers to determine the repayment ability of borrowers via documents such as cash flow statements and financial projections, among others.”
Maxis Southern SME sales head Hirman Mohamad Soh highlighted that SMEs could look to digitalisation as a solution to optimise their operations and minimise wastage.
“SMEs have to structure a strategy that changes the traditional way of doing business to a digital one,” he said.
Concurring with his opinion was Robopreneur Sdn Bhd chief executive officer (CEO) Dr Hanafiah Yussof, who pointed out that in a crisis, technology would be one of the best methods to tackle new challenges.
“Technology has become a part of our daily lives, especially amid the Covid-19 crisis. We have to approach matters with an open mindset, be agile and take quick action during uncertain times,” he said.
During the webinar, PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd chief marketing officer Kuan Eu Jin said, in terms of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the logistics group had moved away from labour-intensive paperwork to automate certain work processes using artificial intelligence (AI).
“For the emails that we received for delivery and sales order, we will use AI to transfer them to the systems automatically,” he said, adding that SMEs could leverage technology for an effective workflow.
Sharing her viewpoint on exploring the export market, Haliza Industries Sdn Bhd CEO Datuk Nor Haliza Hussain said exports could be a benchmark of good standard and the quality of products and services.
“If we can export to other countries, it shows that we comply with good standard and quality, which will make it easier to sell the products locally.”
SOBA 2021 is organised by Star Media Group Bhd with CGC, Maxis, PKT Logistics Group and RHB as the main sponsors and Matrade as the official trade promotion partner. Supported by the International Trade and Industry Ministry and Bursa Malaysia, it is audited by BDO with 988 and Suria as official media partners.
For more information on SOBA 2021, call The Star Events at 017-231 1789 or visit www.soba.com.my.