PHOTO - (From left) Iskasymir Ismail, project director for Business Media International; SME Corp Malaysia CEO Dato' Hafsah Hashim; William Ng, group publisher / editor-in-chief for Business Media International; Koay Chiew Guan, president of Small and Medium Enterprises Association (SAMENTA) Malaysia; and Mohd Fadzil A.Rashid, managing director for Extra-Built (M).
More than 150 companies set out to help Malaysian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) at SME Solutions Expo 2011, held on 30 June to 2 July, in Kuala Lumpur, said the organiser Business Media International.
The exhibitors included companies from the IT, financial, telecommunications, government and academic sectors, said Business Media International group publisher, William Ng. "Themed 'Globalising The SMEs Through Branding & Innovation,' the event attracted about 20,000 SMEs preparing to shift gear to compete globally."
"At SME Solutions Expo 2011, SMEs and entrepreneurs could find almost anything they needed for their businesses - from financing and technology to business ideas and opportunities," said Ng. "More importantly, the Expo allowed visitors and participants alike to meet and network with other business owners and enabled SMEs to learn how to benefit from the latest technology to sustain the competitive advantage of SMEs."
"In a recent survey by SME Magazine, Malaysian SMEs indicated that rising cost was the biggest challenge (82 per cent)," he said. "This was followed by increased competition (76 per cent), access to financing (73 per cent) and access to quality workforce (62 per cent). IT adoption and its associated costs and knowhow was also a major challenge, with 57 per cent of SMEs indicating they needed help to become more technologically-savvy."
"The rising costs of raw materials, energy and business services are hurting our SMEs," said Ng. "Despite the assurance from the government that the rise would be manageable and that SMEs were consulted, our survey indicates that rising costs is the number one challenge facing SMEs. Many SMEs are finding their razor thin margin contracting to the point of near-loss. We fear that if this is not addressed, even some of our larger SMEs could go under."
"A majority of our SMEs are also finding significantly increased competition locally and regionally," he said. "This is hurting market share and eating into the bottom line - which in turn puts our SMEs on the defensive. Unless we are able to either provide a solution or better equip our SMEs for the challenges, our economy will suffer."
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