A helping hand for local SMEs on their halal journey

Alliance Islamic Bank chief executive officer Rizal IL-Ehzan Fadil Azim.

THE Star recently spoke to Alliance Islamic Bank chief executive officer Rizal IL-Ehzan Fadil Azim on the local halal industry and how the bank is helping interested businesses on their halal journey.

Why is there a growing demand for businesses into the halal segment?

The halal industry continues to gain traction. Globally, the industry’s market size is valued at US$3tril (RM13.34tril). It is now expected to reach US$7.7tril (RM34.25tril) by 2030.

Closer to home, the halal exports this year are expected to surpass the pre-pandemic level of RM42bil.

There are also other growing concerns about food safety, responsible business conduct and quality assurance, especially since the onset of Covid-19. SMEs can capitalise on this opportunity for their business growth by tapping into the robust trillion-dollar halal market.

What are the challenges businesses face and how can Alliance Islamic Bank assist?

Some challenges include capital constraints, intense competition, outdated technology, limited business network and lack of experience.

SMEs typically do not seek halal certification due to a lack of proper understanding, perceived complexity of the process, and financial limitations.

Our aim is to provide SMEs with access to a wider range of expertise to fully support them throughout the process.

Explain what the “Halal in One” programme is and what it offers business owners.

Alliance Islamic Bank’s Halal in One programme was established in 2020 as a halal ecosystem that provides both financial and non-financial support to business owners venturing into the halal space to grow and succeed.

It offers coaching and mentoring, certification support, halal readiness assessment, access to e-commerce platforms and a global market network, Shariah-compliant funding, as well as advisory services.

How does the bank select its partners for Halal in One?

Our collaboration with partners revolves around fulfilling the mandate of Halal in One’s three value propositions – Set Up Halal, Grow Halal, and Fund Halal.

They support each value proposition by providing complementary services within the Halal in One ecosystem.

For example, we work closely with one of our partners, HQC Commerce, to help SMEs understand the certification process and fulfil the requirements to be halal certified.

Secondly, we help businesses grow by enabling market access. Partners such as Halal Development Corporation’s HIP (Halal Integrated Platform) provide a platform for SMEs to grow and connect their businesses with global suppliers and consumers.

Lastly, we offer Shariah-compliant financing to business owners who need working capital to expand their business or to renovate their premises.

With the inclusion of eJazmine, Fusionex, International Institute for Halal Research (INHART), Halal Development Corporation (HDC) and Halnex Sdn Bhd, the Halal in One programme is supported by nine halal market solution providers. Together with our partners, we have helped more than 100 businesses in their halal journey.

How can Halal in One help halal-certified SMEs grow further?

The Bank provides other financing options for business owners, especially for micro enterprises in the halal industry. To meet their financing needs quickly, owners can obtain hassle-free Shariah-compliant financing of up to RM1,000,000 fully digitally via Alliance Bank’s Digital SME Business. The simplified process enables business owners to conveniently apply and track their application status anytime, anywhere.

The Bank also supports businesses through its BizSmart® Solution Portal.

This one-stop online business community platform enables business owners to reach out to new customers and access over 200 partner solutions and resources at preferential rates. It offers various businesses solutions which helps business to digitise, access new markets, adopt sustainability practices and obtain advisory.

What’s next for Halal in One this financial year?

We aspire to become the centre of excellence for halal, social enterprise and sustainability initiatives and contribute towards Malaysia’s vision of becoming a global halal hub.

This financial year, the bank will provide RM400mil in Shariah-compliant financing to help more business owners grow in the halal sector.

Businesses that are keen to find out more or apply for the Halal in One programme can head over to https://www.alliancebank.com.my/halal-in-one.

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