YOUTHS who intend to start a small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) have to seriously look at how to make their business idea a reality.
SME Corp business advisory and support director Mohd Rithaudden Makip said gone are the days where “grantrepreneurs” could expect to get grants for their business with little to show as today’s government assistance are targeted at meeting specific milestones and needs.
“Our programmes are tailored to help at various stages of the SMEs’ development, focusing on their needs, not wants.
“They range from purchase of machinery and software, packaging, advertising and promotion to certification of their products,” Mohd Rithaudden said.
Speaking at the 4th Commonwealth Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs (CAYE) – Asia Entrepreneur Summit in Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC), held on Nov 1 in Cyberjaya, he added that many youths engaged in online businesses today had not formalised their business, making it difficult for them to obtain government assistance.
Another speaker, Gamurai Pte Ltd founder and chief executive officer Woo Sze Ming, 29, from Singapore said youth entrepreneurs need to have an idea that they are deeply fascinated with, come up with a business model that works and then build trust to get further investments.
Starting the company with a SG$50,000 grant from the Singaporean government, he said the company was set up when he was still studying in university and the grant was used to build the prototype; “applying all the mathematical formulas, (involving trigonometry) I learnt in school.”
Convincing the Government was difficult for a student with no track record.
Woo said they had to do more to show the value of their startup, by showing that they had letters of intent from potential customers even before securing the grant.
“It shows that the solution will be in demand.
“Generally, Asians, as compared to Westerners, would like to see a validated demand from the market before putting in investment, as opposed to Westerners who would invest in the idea first, and see whether the idea can be translated into validated demand,” Woo said.
Woo, whose company provides web-based application for the hairstyling industry added that as one who is immersed with electronic gaming, the idea of creating digital characters from two dimensional pictures had always fascinated him.
Hence his application allowed customers who wants a new hairstyle to simulate various hair designs and colours in three dimensional before having it done on the client.
“We got that idea from our female friends,” he said, adding that they put in further elements relating to customer and business management which would benefit not only the hairstylist but also the branch manager to the owner of the company which allowed them to increase hairstylist productivity, manage inventory to having an overall view of the business performance of the company.
To-date, since incorporating in year 2010, the company with five staff had five sales and another 12 to be completed by end of the year.
Besides that, they also set up another company, Gamurai Technology Sdn Bhd in October this year to expand its business in Malaysia.