Started as a flea market shoe seller, Christina Ng, Chief Executive Officer of Christy Ng Sdn. Bhd made her debut on the international scene by adopting a digital transformation strategy and shifting to an e-commerce platform.
Christina’s business endeavours started with a humble beginning. Due to financial constraints, her entrepreneurial journey began at the tender age of nine, when she started selling straw flowers made by her mother, at the Kelana Jaya LRT station. At the age of 15, she sold ice-cream to help her family earn more money. Today Christina is one of the most sought-after shoe designers in the country. As a self-taught entrepreneur and designer, she began to sell her unique shoe designs on Facebook as a way to make some side income and pursue a childhood dream. From a brick-and-mortar business, her operations grew bigger and today Christy Ng is a multi-channel woman footwear & handbags company. With retail stores in key locations across Klang Valley, the brand also hails an e-commerce site which ships
worldwide to customers from over 70 different countries across the world.
However just like many other SMEs, Christina’s business was impacted by the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic. She applied and was awarded the #SMART Automation Grant (SAG) matching grant, an initiative under the Government’s recent Pelan Jana Semula Ekonomi Negara (PENJANA) for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-tier companies in the services sector to automate their business processes and ease their financial strains as a result of the pandemic.
The grant which was made through the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) giving assistance to traditional and non-technology activity-related businesses to embrace new technology and move towards digitalisation. Serving local and international customer base, Christina’s online business operation had to become agile and versatile very quickly for her to be able to cater to the needs and demands of her customers. She said that the Government’s PENJANA funding announcement for businesses came at the right time when the world was badly hit by the pandemic.
It helped support businesses like hers to innovate and automate swiftly enabling them to participate in the digital economy while responding to the societal changes. “The support was necessary. Before moving to a new platform, we were managing our online and offline orders on separate systems that were not integrated at all,” said Christina. “Most of our daily routine was spent on managing the orders and it was time-consuming since everything was done manually. Through the SAG initiative, we managed to migrate to a more consolidated system that helps us to reduce our work hours by improving the efficiency of our order management and processing system, while providing a better shopping experience for our customers,” she added.
Covid-19 has given businesses serious thoughts about their operation models, those who were resisting to digital concepts are now seeing the benefits of transforming their business. Adopting new technology is inevitable if one seeks to keep in business or expand. Grants like the SAG will be useful for those lacking immediate resources, the government is offering interest-free financial assistance for these companies to build their digital capabilities and capacities. SME’s like Christy Ng are encouraged to tap into these available funds provided by the government and look at ways to incorporate tehcnology to scale up their business.