KUALA LUMPUR: Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) here are never short of guiding hands to help them achieve success in the competitive global market.
Online auction site eBay and payment gateway Paypal are the latest international organisations to come forward to support our SMEs.
Both have entered into an agreement with the Malaysia External Trade Development Corp (Matrade) to organise a consultation and mentorship programme, called eBay for Business, to provide SMEs with the know-how to extend their businesses globally.
The programme will cover a range of topics — from tips on setting up an online business to current e-commerce trends — and is offered free of charge to SMEs that are registered with Matrade.
Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir said the programme will show SMEs how they can make their business grow with the help of e-commerce.
“This is exactly the kind of opportunity that we’re looking for to help make it easier and more affordable for SMEs to gain access to larger markets,” he said. He was officiating at the launch of the programme.
With eBay and Paypal lending their expertise to the programme, Mukhriz said, it may be able to help allay some of the fears that SMEs may have about doing business online.
“There seems to be a lot of sceptism among some merchants on the integrity of online businesses especially when it involves electronic payment. eBay and Paypal will have a lot to share on how to mitigate such problems,” he said.
Malaysians are not strangers to e-commerce. According to Datuk Kamarudin Hassan, Matrade deputy chief executive officer, e-commerce transactions among SMEs were valued at RM9.7bil last year.
“I believe this number is still low but there is huge potential for growth,” he said.
Matrade plans to take the programme nationwide in order to get more SMEs to warm up to the idea of expanding their businesses via e-commerce.
Steven Liew, chief relations officer for eBay Asia Pacific, said the programme should be seen as an introduction to e-commerce.
“The seminars included in this programme aim to help businessmen begin their e-commerce journey. Once they start, we will guide them through the process,” he said.
Liew said that while the hand-holding process usually lasts about three months, eBay and Paypal will continue to support those businesses that show real potential and are passionate about embracing e-commerce.
“If we see someone really doing well, it’s all the reason we need to keep the fire burning bright,” he added.