KUALA LUMPUR: 24 Feb – Efforts in making 2017 as the promotional year for Start-up and SMEs as mentioned by the Prime Minister during the Budget 2017 presentation was realised by SME Bank with the launch of the i-SMART Programme (SME Bank Upward Migration and Acceleration Programme).  The objective of this programme is to escalate the business of selected entrepreneurs into the global market.  Started as Skim Anjakan Usahawan(SAU) which was introduced by the Prime Minister, i-SMART aims to create SMEs entrepreneurs who can compete globally through an effective financial management, capacity building, strategic marketing, facilitation assistance and others from SME Bank.

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry has allocated fund amounting RM60 million for this programme which has been channeled through SME Bank as the implementing agency.  SME Bank will identify the eligible entrepreneurs and they will be nurtured through the i-SMART Programme.  For a start, seven entrepreneurs has been selected to participate in this programme.

Group Managing Director of SME Bank, Datuk Mohd Radzif Mohd Yunus said, “Among the main criteria for selection of entrepreneurs are, their business track record should show profits for three consecutive years, consistency in sales growth, Shariah compliant business, owned at least 51% by Bumiputera and also achieved the minimum level for risk rating SCORE by SME Corp.”

“i-SMART is a programme designed to create Bumiputera CHAMPIONS who will accelerate the growth and performance of SMEs towards achieving high income and able to compete globally as well as contribute to the social well-being of the community,” added Radzif.

i-SMART is a unique and wholesome programme which includes three main components and they are: essential needs to help entrepreneurs to go global through effective financial management, capacity building and facilitation assistance from SME Bank.

Over the years, the Government has allocated huge budgets and carries out various initiatives in nurturing and developing the SME sector to bring them to a higher level.  SME entrepreneurs now have to respond to this challenge by taking initiatives and creating more opportunities to expand their businesses globally.  They have to compete in a healthy way in the open market to ensure the business conducted remain intact, sustainable and able to contribute to the country’s GDP.

Minister of International Trade and Industry YB Dato ‘Sri Mustapa Mohamed attended and launched the i-SMART programme.

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