The International Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti), through its agencies SME Corp Malaysia, Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Bhd and SME Bank, has disbursed financial assistance to the tune of RM23 billion to more than 51,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) so far.
“It is time we took stock of how successful our entrepreneurs have become… how many have expanded their businesses locally and how many have ventured abroad and yet, how many are still struggling,” said Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed after the launch of FOKEM 2014 (Entrepreneurship Forum) yesterday.
One of the most successful stories is Top Glove Corp Bhd, which, with the assistance of the ministry’s agencies, rose from being a small player to become the world’s largest rubber glove producer.
“In many instances of the unsuccessful ventures, it was found that the business operations did not go beyond the first generation due to various reasons, including failure to react to market demand.”
He said of the RM23 billion, the largest sum of RM11.8 billion (over the past 30 years) was disbursed by MIDF by way of soft loans or grants, followed by SME Bank (RM8 billion) and SME Corp (RM3.4 million).
Other government agencies which also extended assistance are Majilis Amanah Rakyat under the Rural and Regional Development Ministry, Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia, Tabung Ekonomi Kumpulan Usaha Niaga and Bank Pembangunan Malaysia Bhd (all under the Finance Ministry).
SMEs form the backbone of the economy and, hence, their progress and activities would boost the growth of the economy, but the minister said they need to grow their market overseas, such as China and Middle East.
The SME Masterplan 2020 provides a blueprint to outline the growth of the SMEs in the country.
“It’s an inclusive agenda for all, including to ensure that the Bumiputeras are not left behind, while young entrepreneurs should also be cared for.”
Mustapa commented on the growth and expanse of the South Korean SMEs over the past decades to become a force to reckon with not only domestically, but also globally, as the success story of Samsung clearly showed.
Some 1,000 people took part in the one-day forum, which also staged several sessions involving local successes, such as ABX Express Sdn Bhd, Rintiz Rezky (M) Sdn Bhd and AYS Sdn Bhd.
Others include SIDMA College Sabah & Sarawak, Protection Rigging Access Services Sdn Bhd, Azman Hamzah Plastik Sdn Bhd and Opto Screen (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd.
The younger group of entrepreneurs also benefited from sessions related to access to financing and markets, managing success and business outlook.