MATRADE and CIMB to accelerate efforts to assist SMEs become more agile and resilient

The Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) and CIMB Group Holdings Berhad (CIMB Group or CIMB) have accelerated their efforts to assist the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) to become agile and resilient to unprecedented risks during the pandemic.

The objectives include helping SMEs with a business case for adopting sustainability principles and ways to start by conducting due diligence on their value chain. MATRADE-CIMB’s exclusive delivery partner, IMPACTO Sdn Bhd (IMPACTO) offered SMEs advisory on adoption and implementation of sustainability strategies.

Under the SMEs Sustainable Exporters Programme, SMEs from six subsectors comprised of food & beverage (F&B); machinery parts and components; medical equipment; furniture; fashion (garments and cosmetics) were trained.

More than 150 SMEs took their first step to improve their understanding of the most likely and emerging risks of the future. These SMEs collectively dedicated 400 hours of online orientation on various economic, environmental, social and governance aspects that could potentially create new opportunities for resilient growth as well as future proof the business and communities who matter.

Ahmad Shahriman Mohd Shariff, Chief Executive Officer, CIMB Islamic Bank Berhad (CIMB Islamic) said,“CIMB Islamic is encouraged by the initial positive response of SMEs to Sustainability Orientation, despite the current challenging times. This year, we have accomplished two things with the 150 SMEs. First, there is a need for SMEs to build a more robust and all-inclusive risk preparedness and risk management mechanism. Second, as SMEs on their sustainability journey, they can have access to sustainable financing solutions, new markets through CIMB’s Trade Club, as well as knowledge and technical resources through our partner, IMPACTO. In 2021 and beyond, we are planning to expand the programme to include more

hands-on mentoring at sector-level. The idea is to nudge local SMEs with export potential to gain a competitive advantage with their responsible, efficient, resilient and profitable business practices. These efforts reflect CIMB’s commitment in championing BNM’s concept of Value-based Intermediation for positive and sustainable impact to the economy.”

According to Sharimahton Mat Saleh, Deputy Chief Executive Officer (Export Development), MATRADE will scale the programme together with our partners to reach out to more SMEs throughout the country especially in getting more involvement from SMEs in the East Coast, Sabah and Sarawak. “We would like to see more SMEs taking a holistic and responsible approach to manage their business models and growth strategies. They need to be more resilient in dealing with export markets and that means, SMEs need to be aware of the hidden risks and opportunities in their value chain, particularly in adopting sustainability principles to grow into globally-relevant and competitive enterprises of the future.”

“We recognise that SMEs are most often than not in a ‘survival mode’, with limited resources to plan and deliver ambitious growth. Our delivery model hence takes a very practical approach given the economic and social realities of SMEs on the ground. We offer knowledge and technical expertise, while MATRADE-CIMB partnership provides the much needed local, regional and global business network support, access to finance and market and most importantly, a springboard to shape a resilient business. I call upon SMEs to make the best of this opportunity as we move into 2021 with more advanced programmes”, concluded Kishore Ravuri, Founder and Chief Impact Officer, IMPACTO.

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