TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2018 KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation’s (MATRADE) customised Women Exporters Development Programme (WEDP) was established in 2014. Its aim is to specifically nurture women exporters - an often overlooked segment of the exporter community, by offering a three-year tailored programme to grow women-owned SMEs into global exporters. WEDP provides women entrepreneurs with business coaching, skills enhancement training, international business exposure, market immersions, networking and mentoring sessions as well as leadership and entrepreneurial development. Companies in the programme also receive support grants that help to defray costs in conducting marketing and promotional visits to international trade fairs, international seminars and workshops and other international trade promotion events organised by MATRADE worldwide.
Since WEDP’s inception, a total of 251 companies have graduated while 73 companies are currently enrolled in the program. For the year 2018 from January to May, WEDP companies collectively reported total export sales of RM7.24 million. Among the products and services offered by participants of WEDP are: Food and Beverages, Lifestyle products, ICT, Electrical & Electronic products and Services.
MATRADE’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer in charge of Exporters Development, Sharimahton Mat Saleh said that WEDP was introduced with a specific goal - to nurture global champions among Malaysian women-owned SMEs. “The WEDP will be the impetus for women-owned Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Malaysia to build resilience and competitiveness and tenacity. MATRADE believes that women-owned businesses play a crucial role in advancing the country’s trade performance and in expanding the pool of exporters in the country. Over time, this will help increase SMEs’ export contribution for Malaysia to 23 per cent by 2020, help generate jobs and contribute to GDP of the nation” she said.
In the case of Hana Medic Sdn Bhd, MATRADE’s WEDP has positively impacted its export performance. The company completed and graduated from WEDP in 2016, and has since expanded its export coverage to include new markets of United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, the United Kingdom and China.
Hana Medic Sdn Bhd specialises in medical and personal care products, with its main focus on a no-rinse moisturising hand sanitiser product, formulated for hospitals and medical centers. Being a Malaysian SME in the medical device and consumables market which is largely dominated by multinational companies can pose real challenges, but Hana Medic has withstood and overcome barriers, and successfully widened its market access into more than five new territories globally. Working through established partners in the foreign markets, Hana Medic’s hand sanitisers are now used in many hospitals including Sultan Qaboos University Hospital in Oman as well as hospitals in Macao, Brunei, Myanmar and Shenzen, China.
The company’s commitment to exports has led to its successful attainment of several global standards and certifications. Hana Medic has Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), ISO 9001: 2008 (Quality Management) and ISO 13485:2003 (Medical Devices-Quality Management) and a Manufacturing Establishment License from Medical Device Authority: (Section 15(1) of the Act 737). The company’s products are also certified Halal by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM).
According to Hana Medic’s Managing Director Dr. Norayati Abd Majid, MATRADE’s WEDP has been instrumental in the company’s global growth. “The programme gave us not only the knowledge on exporting but also the confidence to introduce our range of products to consumers with different preferences and to explore markets that have different standards and regulations,” she said. To date, Hana Medic’s export business has contributed 30 per cent to the company’s revenue.
The company is now diversifying into health foods with the launching of its latest product - a mixed fruit juice called JustGreat consisting of a cocktail of Soursop, Mango, Calamansi Lime and selected natural honey. The formulation of JustGreat was jointly developed with researchers from Malaysia Agriculture Research and Development Institute (MARDI), where agricultural scientists made a breakthrough in the extraction and conservation of a free form of high antioxidant concoction containing Flavonoids and Phenolic Acid through a rigorous fermentation process.
Developed after nine years of R&D that cost RM2.5 million, Hana Medic now owns the exclusive rights to this high anti-oxidant juice formulation. JustGreat has won numerous prestigious awards in Malaysia and abroad. The juice garnered the best invention category taking the Double Gold Medal – British Invention Award 2012, Gold Medal in Outstanding Innovation 2013 from iENA Germany, and Gold Medal – High Free Phenolic Acid Juice from The British Invention Show 2012. Moving forward, Hana Medic is planning to introduce JustGreat to Indonesia, Myanmar, Australia, and Fiji.