Datuk Wira Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli, Deputy Minister of Entrepreneur Development giving his speech at SME CEO Forum 2019

Kuala Lumpur, 25 June 2019 – Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are encouraged to diversify their business in the face of a challenging market. Dato’ Wan Latiff Wan Musa, CEO of MATRADE made this call at the SME CEO Forum 2019 held today.

“There is no right time or wrong time to consider exporting your products and services. Given the volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) world, it is important that our SMEs mitigate their geographic risks while expanding their businesses via exports”, Wan Latiff said.

Dato’ Wan Latiff Wan Musa, CEO of MATRADE reading a copy of SME Magazine

The SME CEO Forum was organised by SME Magazine in partnership with MATRADE at the MATRADE Exhibition and Convention Centre. Over 1,000 SMEs gathered at the forum to discuss access to new markets.

“Many of our SMEs are finding it increasingly difficult to survive in a rapidly changing market. Digital disruption has taken its toll on many businesses, from retail and manufacturing to trading and logistics. If this is not mitigated, many of our SMEs could be out of business in as little as 3 years’ time”, said Dato’ William Ng, group publisher and editor-in-chief of Business Media International, the publisher of SME Magazine.

According to the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia’s industrial landscape consists of 97.1 per cent SMEs contributing to RM283.3 billion of GDP at 5 per cent growth year-on-year.

“In 2018, the total value of Malaysia’s exports was RM998.01 billion. Just 18 per cent of these were carried out by SMEs. Clearly, more can and must be done to encourage our SMEs to export”, Ng added.

In officiating the forum, Datuk Wira Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli, Deputy Minister of Entrepreneur Development also encouraged SMEs to diversify their businesses.

“The Ministry is committed to development of our SMEs. As part of the National Entrepreneurship Framework, it is our aim to strengthen the economic contribution of SMEs from 37.1 per cent of GDP in 2017 to 41 per cent by 2020. We are always ready to act as facilitator to assist entrepreneurs and SMEs in this regard,” Hatta said.

(From Left) Datuk Wira Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli touring the exhibition booths with Dato’ William Ng, group publisher and editor-in-chief of Business Media International, and Dato’ Wan Latiff Wan Musa

The SME CEO Forum also gathered more than 20 business solution providers as exhibitors, to assist SMEs in accessing new markets and growing a sustainable business. These included Dell EMC, Ireka Group of Companies, Regus Management Malaysia, Singapore Tourism Board, S P Setia, TalentCorp, BMW Malaysia, Turkish Airlines, and others.