Cash aid to help 1,000 SMEs go on digital journey

A TOTAL of 1,000 eligible small and medium enterprises () in Penang will each receive a RM1,000 one-off grant to offset the cost of selling on a business- to-business (B2B) marketplace.

Digital Penang chief executive officer Tony Yeoh, who read a statement on behalf of state trade, industry and entrepreneur development committee chairman Datuk Abdul Halim Hussain, said the state was committed to supporting all to go digital.

He said Penang had to remain the economic centre of Malaysia and show what a technology- advanced state could achieve, adding that the Covid-19 pandemic had made this aim challenging but not impossible.

“The state has also allocated RM1mil to support SMEs through the Penang Financial Package 3.0, ” he said during the ‘Penang SME Go Digital’ campaign launch at Wisma Yeap Chor Ee in China Street Ghaut.

“The pandemic has highlighted how important going digital is.

“Some SMEs had problems reaching customers during the lockdown and this threatened their survival.

“For others, maintaining productivity when employees were working from home was almost impossible.

“Going digital can overcome these challenges.

“SMEs will be able to reach customers beyond geographical boundaries while digital tools can increase staff productivity despite employees working from home.

“Despite all the proven benefits, the digital journey can be difficult and scary for many SMEs, leading to a slower adoption of technology.

“The biggest problem is perhaps an overflow of information, ” he said.

The campaign was designed to help SMEs by offering a variety of products and services during the journey from ‘learning’ to ‘equipping’ and finally to ‘experiencing’.

“At each stage of the journey, the campaign narrows down the choices so that SMEs can easily choose a package that is suited to them and quickly start selling online.

“For micro SMEs or those that sell to consumers, the journey begins with learning the basics of e-commerce and finally experiencing being on a marketplace with SiteGiant.

“For medium enterprises or those that sell to businesses, the journey begins with learning how to market their products online.

“Then, they will experience being on a marketplace with Averest and later participate in a virtual international trade fair at eBizstart, ” he said.

Small and Medium Enterprises Association of Malaysia (Samenta) national president Kam Lian Hooi said they were honoured to be selected as one of the strategic partners with Digital Penang for the campaign.

“We have advocated to our members the importance of pivoting to a digital business model in line with changing market trends as well as the new norm.

“We are thankful that our request for RM1,000 as financial support for SMEs to go digital has been approved by the state.”

Kam said the RM1,000 grant was now available to 1,000 SMEs.

“More details will be announced during Samenta’s press conference on March 29.

“We have also set up a taskforce to make sure that the process is carried out effectively, ” he said.

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On a separate matter, Yeoh said the Shopee Penang e-mall generated RM583mil in sales from over 15,000 sellers between June last year and February this year.

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