Agrobank SMEs look towards e-commerce to adapt to the new normal

Agrobank Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) clients are moving forward to adapt to the new normal in commencing their businesses through the e-commerce platform or online to continue their business sustainability.

In a dialogue session on UMBI AGRO which was held in conjunction with Agrobank’s SME Month on  Facebook LIVE Agrobank on Tuesday, two of the Bank’s women agropreneurs Mazlina Kamaruddin, Managing Director of Bismi Cergas Sdn. Bhd. (Ayam Bismi Halal Suci) and Musleha Zainuddin, Managing Director of MHP Enterprise Sdn. Bhd appeared panellist to discuss on the topic : Post MCO Agropreneurs – Adaptation and Recovery (Usahawan Agro Selepas PKP: Adaptasi dan Pemulihan) and shared their experiences in adapting the new normal. The session was moderated by Lokman Affandy Yahaya, Head of Corporate Strategic Planning Department Agrobank.

Both the entrepreneurs shared the similar views on the importance of SMEs to explore into e-commerce platforms and making it an alternative to conduct business transactions especially in facing the possibility of any arising crisis local or globally, as what experienced during the enforcement of Movement Control Order by the government following the Covid-19 outbreak.

Mazlina said, the MCO period seemed difficult for SME entrepreneurs to survive and to carry out their businesses especially when various restrictions and guidelines imposed in order to contain the outbreak.

However the stressful period turned out to be a blessing for her who runs a chicken production and processing business. She strived harder to improve her chicken production business and immediately made her business available online.

“Initially, I could not imagine what was going to happen (to the business) when the MCO announcement was made by YAB Prime Minister, as we during that time had about 1 million chicken at our farms, but I was relieved when the chicken production and processing was categorised under the essentials sector which was allowed to operate at all times during the MCO period,”.

“We quickly searched for alternatives which will allow us to continue our business activities, while we adhere to the health and safety guidelines set by the government. That was when we first launched our online platform www.ayambismi.com where consumers get access to our products where they can self-collect from our factories or choose to be delivered by our runners to their home,” she said.

Meanwhile, Musleha, a traditional food and snack producer under the brand name Masri said, she had been more comfortable doing business at home, as that method has been the nature of her business as it involved women from around her headquarters in Sekinchan, Sabak Bernam.

However during the MCO period she had to restructure her business strategy by exploring the online market to sell her food products, while at the same time looking into other products that could be supplied to consumers to fulfil their needs.

“During the early stage of MCO, we did try to operate as usual from home and offered food products to be delivered to our consumers, but we had to explore further into the e-commerce market and realised it has its own perks with approachable access to consumer. Alhamdulillah the outcome has been very fulfilling.

“We learnt quickly to diversify our product options and that was also the time where Agrobank stepped in to provide business coaching with more knowledge on E-commerce and online business, on how to do copywriting and teaching the online marketing skills,”

She also acknowledged that it was time for SME entrepreneurs to take the next step forward by exploring e-commerce platforms, while moving on with current developments and needs as well as improving their knowledge and skills in doing business online.

During the dialogue session, Mazlina advised other entrepreneurs to be strong-minded and self-reliant as the ‘ayam kampung’ to continue living under any circumstance and strive for the sustainability of their business.

The full dialogue session UMBI AGRO: Usahawan Agro Selepas PKP: Adaptasi dan Pemulihan can be viewed at Bank’s official YouTube channel at Agrobank TV.

During the month, Agrobank will highlight successful SME agropreneurs, videos on how SMEs in agri-business is coping with changes dues to Covid-19, coaching sessions, forum and promotions of products related to SMEs through the Bank’s many online and social media platforms as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

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