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Strengthening The Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: SME Bank and UMK Form Strategic Alliance

13 May 2024

KUALA LUMPUR, 13 May 2024 – Small Medium Enterprise Development Bank Malaysia Berhad (SME Bank) is delighted to unveil an innovative collaboration with Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK), focused on empowering entrepreneurs through a pioneering Lifelong Learning Initiative. The formalisation of this partnership, marked by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), underscores our shared dedication to fostering entrepreneurship within Malaysia's Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector.

Datuk Wira (Dr.) Aria Putera Ismail, President/Chief Executive Officer of SME Bank, emphasised the pivotal role of education and collaboration in driving SME growth. "At SME Bank, we recognise the paramount importance of education and collaboration in nurturing the growth of MSMEs. This MoU signifies our endeavour to leverage the academic expertise and resources of UMK to provide tailored solutions that align with the evolving needs of SMEs." He elaborated, "Supported by the invaluable expertise of CEDAR, our wholly-owned subsidiary, which has successfully trained over 80,000 program participants, we are confident that this collaboration will significantly propel entrepreneurship development forward."

Prof. Dato’ Dr Razli Che Razak, Vice-Chancellor of UMK echoed similar sentiments, underscoring UMK's role as a leading education partner in entrepreneurship. "This partnership is a testament to our dedication towards nurturing a conducive ecosystem for SMEs to thrive,” stated Prof. Razli. "As an entrepreneurial university with a special focus on entrepreneurship and enterprise study, UMK is committed to empowering future business leaders. By joining forces with SME Bank, we aim to equip entrepreneurs with the necessary tools and knowledge to navigate the dynamic business landscape effectively."

“We are proud to announce our fourth collaboration with a local university. Our previous partnerships with UiTM, UniSZA, and UUM reflect our unwavering commitment to empowering and fostering economic growth. This underscores our dedication to merging knowledge, education, and innovation with the business landscape, in line with SME Bank's primary mandate as a Development Financial Institution (DFI),” added Datuk Wira (Dr.) Aria.

Under the MoU, both parties will collaborate on a comprehensive range of activities, including post-graduate and executive education programmes, collaborative research and development opportunities, utilisation of laboratory facilities, industrial attachment programmes, internship programmes, entrepreneurship development, and financing assistance.

The MoU between SME Bank and UMK was signed by SME Bank Group President/Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Wira (Dr.) Aria Putera Ismail and UMK Vice Chancellor, Prof. Dato’ Dr. Razli bin Che Razak in the presence of SME Bank Group Chief Corporate Strategy Officer, Datuk Dr. Mohammad Hardee Ibrahim, and Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic and International), Prof. Dato’ Dr. Nik Maheran binti Nik Muhammad.

SME Bank embraces strategic collaborations, cultivating initiatives from the grassroots level, reaffirming its dedication to empowering MSMEs and fostering economic prosperity of the nation. For further details on SME Bank’s programs and initiatives, please visit www.smebank.com.my, SME Bank's Facebook page, or contact SME Bank’s Contact Centre at 603-26037700.