KUALA LUMPUR, April 25 (NNN-Bernama) — The Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) is targeting 2,900 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to participate in its eTRADE programme as their first step into e-commerce by next year.
Deputy chief executive officer Sharimahton Mat Saleh said as of April 2019, about 2,067 SMEs had benefited from the programme.
“The rate of applications, we hope, will increase because we really think this is a game-changer as e-commerce is the way for SMEs to future-proof your businesses,” she told reporters after a talk entitled, “Paving the Way to Cross-Border E-commerce” here today.
The eTRADE programme is part of MATRADE’s initiatives to increase the export contribution of SMEs from the current 17.8 per cent to 23 per cent by 2020.
Under the programme, the SMEs are provided RM5,000 financial facilitation to support the initial cost for them to export via online platforms, with the amount able to cover costs such as photography, listing and translation fees as well as digital marketing.
The programme also offers different types of training for participants by collaborating with 20 e-marketplaces listed under the programme.
Sharimahton said eTRADE was important with many SMEs still hesitant to venture into e-commerce due to the lack of understanding on how they can manage the challenges when exporting online.
“SMEs can only know how to compete online if they are present on the online platform. We have identified that despite the many engagements we have had with the SMEs, only a fraction will make a move towards becoming an online business,” she added.
Since the introduction of the eTRADE programme in 2014, MATRADE has engaged with over 25,000 SMEs, but only 10 per cent took part in the initiative.
“The main reason for this is due to the mindset of the SMEs who still perceive e-commerce as being too complicated for them to manage.
“This programme will hopefully lessen their fear of going online, especially if there is a period of between six to 12 months, before they can see the results of their brand building in the online space,” Sharimahton said.
Through this programme, MATRADE has seen a lot of Malaysian SMEs accessing markets such as the United States, China, ASEAN countries, Europe and others.