MONDAY, 24 JUNE 2019, KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Small and medium Enterprises (SMEs) must include exporting in their business plan from the earlier stages of their business operation – this is the message to be championed by Malaysia’s only trade promotion organisation, Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) through its Chief Executive Officer, Dato’ Wan Latiff Wan Musa at the SME CEO Forum scheduled tomorrow.
The forum targets an attendance of 1,000 SMEs and is organised by Business Media International (BMI) at Menara MATRADE. MATRADE is the event’s Official Market Access Partner where Dato’ Wan Latiff is going to deliver a keynote speech. MATRADE will also be delivering a talk titled “How to Gain Market Access” at the event.
MATRADE’s call for SMEs to export is to address SMEs’ small contribution in export. Currently, local SMEs only contributed about 18 per cent in export despite making up 98 per cent of Malaysian business establishments. “One of the main reasons for this is due to lack of knowledge about market access and readiness among SMEs in exporting. We can’t iterate enough the importance for SMEs to be part of the global business because technological advancements in the digital world are so rapid that the world community is becoming closer by the day. It is almost impossible for SMEs to ignore the export business if they wish to remain relevant for a long time,” said Wan Latiff.
He added that it is important for SMEs to be fully prepared when they are ready to approach exports in their business cycle with clear export strategies drawing from their own strengths and leveraging on market opportunities. “In any business cycle for SMEs, there is a period focusing on the developmental aspects of their companies such as on business strategy, financial strength, governance, and production capacity among others. This is a very crucial period as SMEs’ involvement or success in exporting is determined at this stage. At this stage, SMEs should leverage on the facilitations offered by development bodies or agencies that are tasked to develop entrepreneurship such as the Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and its agencies such as SME Corp and SMEBank ” he shared.
“Once they are ready they can then come to MATRADE to get assistance in internationalising their business. We have experience in internationally positioning Malaysian SMEs spanning over 25 years and have 46 trade offices around the world. Apart from providing valuable market intelligence, we will match the SMEs with qualified buyers from around the world that have been accumulated by our global offices since the past two decades,” Wan Latiff explained.
Supporting the message is BMI’s group publisher and editor-in-chief, Dato’ William Ng. “Many of our SMEs are finding it increasingly difficult to survive in a rapidly changing market. Digital disruption has taken its toll on many businesses, from retail and manufacturing to trading and logistics. If this is not mitigated, many of our SMEs could be out of business in as little as 3 years time,”William said.
MATRADE urges local SMEs to reach out to MATRADE to understand more about the potential of exporting to their business. MATRADE offers Exporters Development Programme and Export Promotion initiatives. These programmes catered to scaling up SMEs capabilities and to offer market access in strategic markets suitable for their respective sectors.