Digital is the way to grow

  • Smebiz
  • Monday, 30 Jul 2018

No closed doors: There are always ways for budding entrepreneurs to get loans for their start-ups, says Punitha.

USERS spend an average of 14 hours on their smartphone daily, which provides a great opportunity for businesses to reach out to their customers via their mobile devices.

Digi Business Division chief business officer Eugene Teh Yee said small and medium enterprises (SME) need to go digital if they want to grow.

“The average user spends about 14 hours on their mobile phone daily. For businesses, this provides a real opportunity to use mobile as a media to engage with customers or to reach out to employees.

“As an organisation, when launching a new product or a campaign, everyone needs to think mobile first, including building a website.

“Businessmen who are not tech-savvy should hire the right person to encourage and to embrace the digital environment,” he said at SOBA Lab at Mu Hotel in Ipoh last Wednesday.

Teh also encouraged small businesses to adopt cashless transaction.

“It will benefit the retailers. And if one competitor is using it but others are not, they will lag behind,” he said.

Datuk Michael Tio
"It’s simple. If you are humble, people will help you. But if you are snobbish, no one will come to your aid." - Datuk Michael Tio

Teh was one of the three panellists for the topic “Technology – The Engine of Change” at the workshop. The others were RHB Bank Group Transaction Banking head Chung Chee Kai and PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd chief executive officer and managing director Datuk Michael Tio.

Chung said a lot of awareness programmes and initiatives have been conducted to encourage customers to embrace cashless transaction, which is the way forward for people and businesses in the near future.

“When it comes to technology, the younger generation does it better than the older ones. The older ones still want to feel the paper and cash.

“Perhaps, we can do it in phases, by encouraging them to do it in smaller transactions before moving on to larger ones,” he said, explaining that this could build trust for the system over time.

He also said that statistically, it was more secure to do digital transactions which are efficient and fast.

“More than 80% of fraud cases stem from usage of cheques. On the security aspect, it is also a huge issue to carry a lot of cash,” he said.

Chung said there was no avoiding digital and cashless transaction in the near future.

“In an eco-system where the demand is there, there’s no ignoring it. Ultimately, it will pressure the people to go cashless.

“Right now, the momentum of people going cashless is there. When the option to use cash is limited, this will speed things up,” he said.

Chung Chee Kai
"In an eco-system where the demand is there, there’s no ignoring cashless transactions." - Chung Chee Kai

PKT’s Tio said that staying humble and having a positive attitude can help an entrepreneur achieve success.

“It’s simple. If you are humble, people will help you. But if you are snobbish, no one will come to your aid.

“It is imperative to stay humble and have a great attitude. I have seen people sacrifice their high salary just to work for a small company because the entrepreneur was humble,” he said, adding that having a great attitude also grows on others, especially the employees.

Tio said he has also advised his employees to refrain from posting negative comments on the company’s Facebook page.

“I always tell them to post positive things. They wouldn’t like it too if someone were to post bad things about them, so let’s not do it,” said Tio who uses Facebook as a branding tool for his company.

Credit Guarantee Corp Malaysia Bhd (CGC) Ipoh branch manager J. Punitha told SOBA Lab participants that there are always ways for budding entrepreneurs to get loans for their start-ups.

She said one of the biggest challenges for new entrepreneurs was to get bank loans.

“You will not get loans if there are no collaterals, track records, bank statements, income and other relevant documents.

“They can, however, look for us as we provide financing, advisory to get financing, and mentoring programmes on how to go about in a business,” she said.

“We have loan schemes that do not need guarantees, Islamic finance, and an interest flat rate at 4.3% but these are only available while we still have the funds,” she added.

She also said that if an initial application for loans failed, CGC would continue to assist the applicants by providing advice.

“We also have an online referral platform ( whereby people can apply for loans or get match-up with the relevant bankers.

“There are no closed doors. We can also advise and assist them to go for P2P (peer to peer) financing or crowdfunding to get their funds,” she added.

Eugene Teh Yee
"When launching a new product or a campaign, everyone needs to think mobile first." - Eugene Teh Yee

Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) Transformation and Digital Trade Division senior manager Muhd Shahrulmiza Zakaria said entrepreneurs and businesses could always approach Matrade if they want information on the global market.

“They can download the Matrade MyExport mobile app and register with us.

“They will get alerts and reports from trade offices and detailed reports on market studies,” he said.

“Apart from that, Matrade also provides other services, including financial assistance for export promotions and loans to expand businesses in the service sector abroad, as well as training and advisory,” he added.

The other speakers at SOBA Lab were Chriszen Malaysia Sdn Bhd managing director Mandy Leong and Googolplex Holdings Bhd group chief executive officer Christopher Liang.

The next SOBA Lab will be held at The Puteri Pacific Johor Baru in Johor on Aug 1 and at Menara Star in Petaling Jaya on Aug 8. Entry for SOBA Lab is free of charge but seats are limited. Interested participants are encouraged to register at to secure a seat on a first-come-first-served basis.

The workshops are organised in conjunction with The Star Outstanding Business Awards (SOBA) 2018.

SOBA 2018 is organised by Star Media Group with Digi, PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd and RHB Bank Berhad as main sponsors, Credit Guarantee Corporation as co-sponsor, Matrade as official trade promotion partner and New World Petaling Jaya Hotel as official venue.

SOBA 2018 is endorsed by the International Trade and Industry Ministry, supported by Bursa Malaysia, and audited by BDO, with 988, SuriaFM and dimsum as official media partners.

For more information on SOBA 2018, call Star Media Group Events Business Unit at 03-7967 1388 ext 1432 (Jasmine) / ext 1857 (Pei Wen) or go to

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