(Kuala Lumpur) – The US-ASEAN Business Council (USABC) in collaboration with the SME Corp. Malaysia organized a capacity-building program for Malaysian SMEs at the Mahkota Hall, SME Corp. Malaysia Hall, in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday, July 13, 2023. The in-person workshop attended by 120 Malaysian entrepreneurs from various sectors. This workshop is part of the 2023 SME Workshop Series: Building Resiliency for ASEAN SMEs, and this is the 6th workshop conducted in Malaysia since 2014. This workshop was supported by USABC member companies: Visa, SAP, Amazon Global Selling, and Chubb.
Driven to provide inclusion within the robust digital economy landscape for SMEs, USABC joined hands with its member companies to provide essential insights and skills for Malaysian SMEs through this event. The workshop was officially opened with remarks from Ms. Tina Jamaluddin, Chief Representative for Malaysia and Acting Regional Managing Director, USABC. It is then followed by a keynote remark from Mdm. Noor Afifah binti Abdul Razak, Deputy Secretary General (Policy and Monitoring) of the Ministry of Entrepreneur and Cooperatives Development of Malaysia. The event was also graced by Mr. Rizal Nainy, Chief Executive Officer of SME Corp. Malaysia.
“Aligning with Malaysian Government policy on the National 4IR Policy and the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint (MDEB), the Council and its members are committed to supporting Malaysian SMEs and the government to accelerate Malaysia’s growth by driving digital transformation,” said Ms. Tina Jamaluddin. “Additionally, we also aim to ensure inclusive growth by including women's participation and raising awareness about sustainability in the economy.”[NU1]
The Ministry of Entrepreneur and Cooperatives Development encourages entrepreneurs and MSMEs to seize the opportunities offered by new technologies and digitalization. “To remain resilient and competitive, businesses must invest in innovation and adopt digital solutions,” said Mdm. Noor Afifah binti Abdul Razak.
During the workshop, Ms. Sivaranjini Anbalagan, Assistant Director for Digital Economy Division, Ministry of Investment, Trade, and Industry of Malaysia; Mr. Fabian Bigar Chief Executive Officer, MyDigital Corporation; and Mr. Zaky Moh, Deputy CEO for Implementation and Development Office, SME Corp. Malaysia shared insights on issues surrounding SMEs, sustainability, and the digital economy in a panel discussion. The panel also consisted of Mr. Debarun Roy Choudhury, Senior Director and Head of Commercial and Money Movement Solutions for Southeast Asia, Visa, Mr. Alp Mahareva, Industry Business Architect, SAP, and Ms. Dararin Choomsai Na Ayuthaya, Public Policy Manager for Southeast Asia, Amazon.
In the next session, each company showcased examples of inclusivity and participation in the digital economy specific to Malaysian SMEs. The session featured Mr. Debarun Roy Choudhury, Senior Director and Head of Commercial and Money Movement Solutions for Southeast Asia, Visa; Mr. Jitu Agrawal, Vice President and Head of S/4 HANA Cloud Public Edition for Asia Pacific and Japan, SAP, and Mr. Addy Lim, S/4 HANA Cloud Public Edition Lead for Southeast Asia, SAP; Ms. Aubrey Xiao, Business Development and Partnerships Manager, Amazon Global Selling; and Mr. Nick Selff, Head of Property and Casualty for Malaysia, Chubb. The speakers featured the topics of digital payments, sustainability and digital transformation, cross-border e-commerce opportunities for Malaysian SMEs, and business resiliency, respectively.
“We are privileged to be working with the US-ASEAN Business Council to support local SMEs in their digital transformation journey. SMEs have significant role in Malaysia’s economic growth, and Visa is committed to ensuring that they have access to tools, insights, and innovation that will help them navigate and accelerate towards a digital future,” said Mr Ng Kong Boon, Visa Country Manager for Malaysia. “According to Visa’s recent Back to Business study, nine in ten global small business owners are optimistic about the future of their businesses. In addition, almost three in four of small businesses (73%) see digital payments acceptance is fundamental to their future growth. Payments are no longer about simply providing convenience, but the digital capabilities; from accepting contactless payments to e-commerce, will help them pivot, find opportunities, and thrive in the long run.”
“According to an SAP study, more than two-thirds of SMEs say that digital transformation is critical to future-proof their organization. SMEs, as the backbone of Malaysia’s economy, need knowledgeable business partners that can help guide them through their transformation journey, be agile, and to achieve lifetime business value from their investments. By harnessing the benefits of cloud technology and AI, SMEs can achieve continuous innovation to retain their competitive advantage and sustainable success in a dynamic market, unleash their potential for new international business opportunities," said Mr. Saqib Sabah, Managing Director, SAP Malaysia.
Amazon Global Selling, which is one of Amazon’s business units that helps businesses from anywhere in the world to launch a global business, has been working with Malaysian partners to enhance the development of cross-border e-commerce in the country. During their session, Amazon Global Selling showcased their expertise in supporting the SMEs to export to the US via cross-border e-commerce and improve their efficiency in doing business.
The workshop also featured a special dialogue with a business owner, Ms. Olivia Quah, Co-Founder and Executive Director of iElder.asia, who shared her experience in the digital economy as a female entrepreneur. This was followed by remarks from Ms. Nur Suhada Ahad, Deputy Director of International Cooperation Division, SME Corp. Malaysia and Ms. Nugraheni Utami, Senior Manager of Indonesia and SME Initiatives, US-ABC, who presented several programs from SME Corp. Malaysia to further support SMEs’ digitalization and reap benefits of the ASEAN SME Academy for upskilling.
The ongoing capacity-building initiatives in the ASEAN Member States (AMS) have been a key pillar of the US-ABC since 2011 in response to the request by ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM). The aim of the SME program is to support ASEAN SMEs in leveraging technology and the intra-global consumer and supply base. In addition to the training activities, the ASEAN SME Academy (the Academy) - free online learning platform for SMEs was created and co-administered with the Philippines Department Trade and Industry (DTI) and Philippine Trade Training Centre (PTTC) on behalf of the ASEAN Coordinating Committee on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (ACCMSME).