E-commerce has potential to power up the economy of Malaysia’s rural communities. Source: Shutterstock

Malaysia gives a boost to rural SMEs with e-commerce hubs

Amid the political turmoil in Malaysia, the country’s interim Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad continues to move forward by launching efforts to help micro, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), particularly in rural areas, to transform and go digital.

In the latest installment, Mohamad has provisioned US$4.72 million to speed up the adoption rate of digital solutions among rural SMEs — channeled to the Malaysia Digital Economy Corp (MDEC).

The fund is a part of a recently announced Economic Stimulus Package 2020 that has been designed to invigorate the country’s economy and prepare it for any impact resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak.

MDEC will be utilizing the fund to further empower the Perkhidmatan e-Dagang Setempat (PeDAS) transformation program that will be focusing on modernizing and digitizing rural internet centers.

The aim is to turn those internet centers into e-commerce hubs. 

By establishing these hubs, rural SMEs can expand the prospects of their business by exploring market opportunities that e-commerce has to offer.

In fact, the PeDAS program was launched with the sole aim of helping rural MSMEs learn how to reach a bigger consumer base through e-commerce platforms.

The program has been instrumental even before it receives the additional US$4.72 million boost. SMEs are encouraged to hone their skills at these rural internet centers to gain the right digital, entrepreneurial and e-commerce skills.

Not to mention, SMEs have access to various digital tools and business application platforms that can help them deliver values to their businesses.

The new fund would also help SMEs get a head start in going digital and augment their operations to be better in-line with the standards of an e-commerce marketplace. Of course, this would also mean that rural SMEs will be facilitated in building a proper business foundation for themselves using integrated operational systems.

From licensing to branding and digital marketing, these businesses will receive all the necessary support to help them step into the e-retail industry confidently.

Additionally, 10,000 entrepreneurs will be eligible to receive RM1000 worth of grants to bolster their e-commerce promotion efforts.

Having more products enter the e-commerce market will not only propel the digital economy but it will also fast-track the process of establishing the nation as an online retail hub that is renown in Asia.

These initiatives reflect how committed and dedicated the government is to transform local businesses and drive change at all social-economic levels.

Clearly, there is a holistic understanding of how local rural businesses must not be left out when pursuing nationwide transformation projects.

After all, these businesses are the ones that will be enticing rural communities to participate in fueling the digital economy.