Develop digital skills to stay open, small businesses urged

Wan Junaidi: Producers of Sarawak specialty goods need to have an on line presence to reach out to potential customers.

SMALL business operators in Sarawak should digitalise their operations quickly to ensure their business survival amid the uncertainty surrounding Covid-19.

Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said many businesses in the state were adversely affected by the situation, particularly those dependent on tourism.

He said in a statement that it was crucial for businesses to set up a digital presence or risk having to close shop.

“I know many producers of Sarawak specialty goods, such as layer cake and salted terubok, are having a hard time now because tourists are not coming in.

“They need to have an online presence so they can still reach out to potential customers, not only in Malaysia but globally.

“Going digital is the new norm. There are many platforms for businesses to place products and services, including the recently launched e-commerce platform WarongKu, ” he stressed.

Wan Junaidi said observations by his ministry and its agencies indicated that businesses with a digital presence were not only able to survive but also saw significant growth in monthly sales, some by as much as 200%.

However, he said skills training was necessary for business operators to migrate successfully to a digital platform.

“Having a digital presence is not simply about parking their products and services in the e-marketplace.

“They need to learn skills such as photography and copywriting to make their products more appealing to customers, ” he added.

To assist entrepreneurs, Wan Junaidi said micro-financing and training were available through the ministry’s agencies such as Tekun Nasional and the National Entrepreneurship Institute.

“We strive to provide entrepre-neurs with hand-holding assistance.

“Those who are interested can seek advice from these agencies, ” he added.

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