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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 5 ― Asean countries should explore opportunities to enhance cooperation by establishing a joint development investment funds to accelerate the growth of small and medium enterprises (SME) in the region.

Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Yusof said businesses need various elements to grow, namely capacity building, technology adoption, innovation, human capital training and access to financing.

“Of all these elements, access to financing was deem most crucial as funding is required in order to address most of the other issues,” he said in his keynote address at a workshop on SME access to alternative sources of financing in Asean, here today.

The workshop was funded by the government of Canada and co-organised by Organisation of Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), SME Corporation Malaysia (SME Corp) and the Asean Secretariat.

Meanwhile, SME Corp’s chief ecosystem development officer, Mohd Rithaudden Makip said the joint Asean fund for SME as mooted by the minister is positive.

“Each member countries have their own fund. Making the funds available at Asean level could help the regions’ entrepreneurs to expand their businesses not only within the region but also globally,” he noted.

Malaysia according to him, is currently looking at growing the alternative source of funding due to difficulties faced by startups and early-stage entrepreneurs in accessing financing from financial institutions.

“There is a gap in financing needs among SMEs, hence the needs to develop and expand alternative financing,” he said.

Mohd Rithaudden said the country is quite mature in alternative financing instruments including private equity/venture capital, equity crowdfunding, peer to peer (P2P) funding as well as Leading Entrepreneur Accelerator Platform (LEAP) market.

As of September this year, a total of 10 crowdfunding operators in Malaysia has successfully raised RM65.35 million, benefitting 69 successful issuers.

In addition to that, 11 registered P2P operators also managed to raised RM521.7 million that benefitted 1,560 issuers. ― Bernama

Source: https://www.malaymail.com/news/money/2019/11/05/minister-explore-joint-fund-to-accelerate-growth-of-smes-in-asean/1807048