Digitalisation: The key survival skill for SMEs under Covid-19

  • 5th Selangor Smart City and Digital Economy Conference starts with SME focus
  • SMEs need to adopt 3 critical strategies of think big, start small & scale fast

During the launch of the 5th Selangor Smart City & Digital Economy Convention. From left: From left: Hasan Azhari,  CEO of Invest Selangor, Teng Chang Khim Selangor State Executive Councillor (EXCO) for Investment, Industry and Commerce and SMEs, Yong Kai Ping, Chief Executive of SITEC and Goh Boon Peng Director of SITEC Academy.

The Movement Control Order (MCO), first imposed in Malaysia in mid-March to flatten the Covid-19 curve forced SMEs to embrace digitalisation and go online, to cope with office closures, restricted movement and supply interruption.

Looking to survive in the challenging business environment many SMEs discarded any apprehensions they had about digital by swiftly applying e-Commerce, O2O (online to offline), food delivery and e-wallets into their business.

Selangor State Executive Councilor for Investment, Industry & Commerce and SME, Teng Chang Khim says that SMEs should have learned the useful lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic and embrace digital to sustain their business.

“While it might be overwhelming for traditional business and small businesses trying to find their footing in the digital space within a short time, the SMEs can adopt three critical strategies as their guidance,” he suggests. Namely think big, start small and scale fast when the early pilot results are satisfactory. Teng said this while officiating the 5th Selangor Smart City and Digital Economy Conference that opened today in virtual mode.

He noted that digitalisation of business is not a one-off piece-meal project but rather a comprehensive journey. Business owners must possess the right mindset to adopt best practices, in order to compete in the new norm.

Teng also dispels the misunderstanding that digitalisation is expensive. Instead, it will draw benefits such as improving productivity, better customer retention, and lead to the creation of new sources of revenue or growth.

Despite the trying circumstances, Selangor Information Technology and E-Commerce Council (SITEC) has gone ahead and organised the 5th Selangor Smart City and Digital Economy Conference that focuses on the theme of “How SME Can Thrive In the Battle of Digital Transformation?”

This is the second SME digitisation conference organised by SITEC since its collaboration with Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) for the inaugural SME Digital Summit in August 2019.

More than 1,000 participants registered for today's online conference, showing their enthusiasm for digital transformation.

Teng notes that the Selangor government also pioneered other initiatives to support SMEs such as the launching PRODUTK – a free three months workforce digitalisation program that enables companies to conduct their business operations safely with features for attendance recording, monitoring with GPS via web and application and analytics.

To recognise the SMEs contribution and to encourage dialogue between the industry and state government, Teng has also hosted a series of industry dialogue by interviewing 10 Selangor industry captains.

The soon to be published video interviews cover a wide range of industries such as e-commerce, retail, tourism, hotel industry, food and beverage, agriculture and fishery, advertisement and film and logistics.

“The interview focuses on these Selangor SMEs success stories, their post Covid-19 pandemic recovery plans and how the Selangor state government’s SME friendly initiatives have supported them. It also provides a communication platform for the industry to share their challenges as well as vision ahead,” says Teng.

The first episode, “Impact of Covid-19 on Science and Technology in Malaysia” will premiere on 20 October (Tuesday).

Teng also launched the 5th Malaysia Top E-Commerce Merchant Award competition organised by SITEC and supported by Matrade, MDEC, Magic, SME Corp, IA Alliance and Pikom. This yearly award seeks to reward the most impressive homegrown e-merchants judging from how creative and innovative they conduct online sales campaigns apart from the sales results.

The prize has been doubled to US$10,000 (RM40,500) worth of cash prizes and other in kind prizes . There are two categories of awards, namely Top E-Commerce Merchant Award and Selangor E-Bazar Merchant Awards.

To date, 141 companies have participated in the Top E-Commerce Merchant Awards competition. The participants will be judged by a panel of industry experts on five categories, namely product, platform, visibility & promotions, business potential and sales & order during online sales.

Past winners of the Top E-Commerce Merchant Awards including Sally Fashion, Printcious, Sea Gamer Mall and Hermo.

Established in 2015 under the secretariat of Invest Selangor by the Selangor State Government to uplift the state’s Digital Economy, SITEC is helmed by the Chairman of the Standing Committees of Investment, Industry & Trade, Small and Medium Industries.

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