KUALA LUMPUR: The small and medium enterprise (SME) community, including youth, women and online entrepreneurs, heaved a sigh relief upon hearing measures and incentives proposed under last Friday's 2013 Budget.
Malaysia SME chief executive officer Wayne Lim said the budget as a whole is in favour of micro SMEs and it encourages entrepreneurship and new start-ups.
Lim said the schemes, incentives and funds for hawkers, farmers, fishermen and those in the agriculture sector who are mostly micro entrepreneurs, will provide extra stability for micro businesses that form up to 80 per cent of total SMEs.
"These provisions will allow micro SMEs to remain and grow in a competitive business environment," he told Business Times.
Lim said more often than not, micro SMEs (who are less competitive than their larger counterparts) constantly face uncertainty in running their business and these incentives will give micro entrepreneurs peace of mind.
He also said the incentives for angel investors will encourage more established entrepreneurs to start looking at investing in new start-ups with high potential.
Symantec Malaysia has welcomed the government's strong measures in accelerating the growth and expansion of SMEs.
Its country director, Alex Ong said it is evident that the government has taken into consideration the needs of various groups in the country and ensures that each are taken care of through different initiatives and programmes.
"Examples include the grant for women entrepreneur to promote their business online, the New Entrepreneur Foundation (NEF)'s assistance in providing training and guidance programmes for the young ICT entrepreneur and the Bumiputera Financing Fund for Bumiputera SMEs," he said.
Ong also said the company welcomes the allocation of RM30 million to drive the implementation of the recently unveiled SME Masterplan, which set high targets for Malaysian SMEs.
Meanwhile, Rakuten Online Shopping president and chief executive officer Masaya Ueno said there is a strong potential to help small and medium enterprises in Malaysia grow by bringing their businesses online.
He said the allocation under the Get Malaysian Business Online Programme (GMBO), aimed at assisting 50,000 entrepreneurs particularly women, stands out.
"This would encourage more companies to take their businesses online and utilise e-commerce as a tool in growing their businesses," he said.
Ueno is also of a view that e-commerce can be an effective tool to help Malaysian business to continue expanding their customer base in newer markets and exploring untapped global trade opportunities.