KUALA LUMPUR, June 24 — The Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) is urging small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to include plans for export starting from the earlier stages of their operation.

Chief executive officer Datuk Wan Latiff Wan Musa said the call for SMEs to export is to address SMEs’ small contribution of about 18 per cent to the country’s export despite making up 98 per cent of Malaysian business establishments.

Wan Latiff said it is becoming more important for SMEs to be part of the global business, as the rapid technological advancements in the digital world are bringing the world community closer by the day.

“It is almost impossible for SMEs to ignore the export business if they wish to remain relevant for a long time,” he said.

It is also important for SMEs to be fully prepared when they are ready to approach exports in their business cycle, with clear export strategies drawing from their own strengths and leveraging on market opportunities, he said.

“In any business cycle for SMEs, there is a period focusing on the developmental aspects of their companies such as on business strategy, financial strength, governance, and production capacity, among others,” he said.

Wan Latiff described this is as a very crucial period, as SMEs’ involvement or success in exporting is determined at this stage.

At this stage, he said, SMEs should leverage on the facilitations offered by development bodies or agencies that are tasked to develop entrepreneurship such as the Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and its agencies such as SME Corporation Malaysia and SME Bank.

“Once they are ready, they can come to Matrade to get assistance in internationalising their business.

“We have experience in internationally positioning Malaysian SMEs spanning over 25 years and have 46 trade offices around the world,” he noted.

Apart from providing valuable market intelligence, Matrade will match the SMEs with qualified buyers from around the world that have been identified by its global offices since the past two decades, he added. — Bernama