Charting the 2020 roadmap for SMEs

PETALING JAYA: In light of the challenging business environment, the top consideration on the minds of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is ensuring sustainability for the new year.

Taking the initiative to address these concerns is the latest SME Thought Leadership Forum: Business Highlights for 2020.

The half-day forum will kick off with a session titled 2020 and Beyond for SMEs, ably covered by Socio-Economic Research Centre executive director Lee Heng Guie (pic). A seasoned economist, Lee will be sharing his outlook on next year’s Budget for the nation’s smaller businesses.

In addition, he will be providing actionable insights on what SMEs can anticipate with a highlight on the pertinent aspects in Budget 2020, in order to help entrepreneurs better prepare themselves for both the challenges and opportunities for the year ahead.

Following that is a deep dive into the digital economy initiatives laid out in the Budget, where FinTech Association of Malaysia partnership director and PolicyStreet co-founder Wilson Beh will share his views on the adoption of technology – such as the Internet of Things, smart manufacturing and automation among others – in line with government initiatives and incentives.

With Malaysia among the world leaders in Islamic finance, CIMB Islamic Bank Bhd commercial and transaction banking regional head Hussam Sultan will be introducing the outlook for the Islamic Economic Blueprint to position Malaysia as an Islamic finance centre of excellence.

Pulling from the Budget 2020, Hussam will also explain what the blueprint entails for SMEs.

The forum will culminate in a panel discussion of one of the hottest topics in the business world in recent years. Titled the Future of e-Marketplaces, it will bring together Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre ecosystem development executive director Jonathan Lee, Microsoft Asia small, medium and corporate lead Paulo Calado and NEM business development director Leroy Mah.

Moderated by PrivAsia Technology Bhd production and innovation director Shah Muhammad Ali, the panel will see Lee bringing in industry knowledge on current e-marketplace trends, future developments and platforms for SMEs, while Calado will provide expertise on cybersecurity and the usage of e-marketplaces and NEM’s Mah will focus on security alongside e-payment methods, data storage and database management.

The SME Thought Leadership Forum: Business Highlights for 2020 will be held from 9am to 2.30pm at Menara Star, Petaling Jaya. Admission is RM50 per pax. Those interested can register at

Created as a platform for dialogue and learning within the business fraternity, the SME Thought Leadership series is aimed at dissecting emerging business issues and identifying opportunities that can be leveraged to grow businesses.

The SME Thought Leadership 2019 series is organised by Star Media Group and presented by CIMB Bank Bhd. For further information on the SME Thought Leadership Forum: Business Highlights for 2020, call 03-7967 1388 ext 1233 (Sofia) to find out more.

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