Image credit: The Star

PUTRAJAYA (Dec 13): The Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives (MEDAC) is optimistic of assisting some 25,000 small businesses nationwide to go digital within one to two years as a vital move to ensure their survival in the post Covid-19 era.

Its Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, in a statement today, said this was largely due the multiplier effect that the ministry expects to see from various programmes conducted by its agencies, with the most recent being a collaboration between SME Corp and Warong Rider delivery service via SME Corp's Micro Connector Programme.

Under this programme, he said MEDAC targets to have some 5,000 delivery riders joining the Warong Rider programme, which would be set up in all parliamentary constituencies across the country.

"The programme not only aims to provide job opportunities but also enables these riders to serve as peer-to-peer counsellors who would significantly help create the awareness and assist in the migration process of Makcik Kiah businesses from traditional to digital.

“I think it is possible for one rider to potentially engage with five small businesses, and help explain and assist them on how to get onboard with the digitalisation process," he said.

Wan Junaidi said from there, other agencies such as the National Entrepreneurship Institute (INSKEN) can help out with the necessary awareness and skills enhancement programmes through training and coaching.

He said to date INSKEN has helped train some 5,000 entrepreneurs to shift their brick-and-mortar business operations into digital via a special coaching programme, namely the Online Onboarding Coaching (E-Board), targetting to help 5,900 entrepreneurs via several coaching programmes, including E-Board, the Penjaja Onboarding Programme (POP) and IBT programmme next year.

Wan Junaidi said the overall cost involved to help small business go online would be huge and based on the allocation given to MEDAC and its agencies, it would not have sufficient funds to carry out this challenging task alone.

In view of this, he said MEDAC was keen to work with other ministries on various programmes to help small business in digitalising their operations.