Springboard for mid-tier companies to grow exports

Lim (second row, centre) with some of the MTCDP wave six and seven graduates at the programme’s first hybrid graduation ceremony. — ART CHEN/The Star

Malaysia External Trade Development Corp (Matrade) targets getting 25 mid-tier companies (MTCs) to participate in its Mid-Tier Companies Development Programme (MTCDP) this year.

Deputy International Trade and Industry (Miti) Minister Datuk Lim Ban Hong said Matrade had successfully groomed 275 MTCs since its inception and recorded a cumulative increase in export revenue of RM4.9bil.

“MTCDP started in 2014 as one of the government’s high-impact initiatives in Malaysia’s Development Plan, aimed at accelerating the export growth of MTCs to be regional and global champions.

“For 2019 alone, MTC export revenue had reached RM14.16bil, an increase of 22.5% compared to the year before, ” he said at the MTCDP graduation ceremony for wave six and seven.

Completing a nine-month intensive programme, the two cohorts consisted of 63 graduates, with 20 participants present at its first hybrid ceremony in Kuala Lumpur.

Also present were Matrade chairman Dr Halim Mohammad, Matrade deputy chief operating officer Abu Bakar Yusof and Sharimahton Mat Saleh, Matrade EIM section director Naim Abdul Rahman and Malaysian Consortium of Mid-Tier Companies (MCMTC) president Callum Chen.

Wave six comprised 41 participants and wave seven had 22, from 2019 and 2020 respectively. Wave eight of MTCDP is set to be kick-started in June this year.

These MTCs were recruited from across the country and involved in various sectors, including construction and business services, fast-moving consumer goods, food and beverage, electrical and electronics as well as ICT services.

Matrade is recruiting new participants for the programme and targets MTCs with annual revenue of between RM50mil and RM500mil for manufacturing companies, and between RM20mil and RM500mil for service companies.

“MTCDP has become the springboard for Malaysian homegrown names to stamp their mark as a globally recognised brand, ” said Lim.

The two graduating cohorts participated in nine market immersion missions, targeting several key markets such as the United States, China, Qatar, Thailand and Indonesia.

Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, a virtual market immersion mission to Australia took place involving MTCs from sectors such as processed food, ICT, building materials and business services.

During this immersion, through its office in Melbourne, Matrade connected eight premium buyers with the MTCs via video conference meetings as well as online branding activities.

Lim said the global pandemic continued to disrupt markets, production and supply chains.

“To overcome these challenges, Miti has been working closely with industry players, including MCMTC that represents the voice of MTCs in Malaysia, to provide vital support to businesses via stimulus packages and incentives.”

He said the government, through several economic stimulus packages like Penjana, Prihatin, Permai and Pemekasa, had placed an emphasis on digitalisation.

“Smart Automation Grant under Mida is one of the initiatives that has been offered to MTCs, where a maximum grant of RM1mil per company will be given, subject to terms and conditions.

“With the recent announcement by the Prime Minister on additional allocation of RM50mil for Smart Automation Grant under Pemerkasa, I hope more MTCs will take this opportunity to transform their businesses.”

With some 10,000 MTCs in Malaysia, Lim believed these companies should also lead in terms of driving Malaysia’s economic recovery.

“I strongly believe that our MTCs can be mentors or anchors for our small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

“Imagine if one MTC can groom at least 10 SMEs, the spillover impact on our GDP will definitely grow beyond the current 40%, ” he said.

Companies interested in taking part in the programme can email midtier@matrade.gov.my for details.

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