SMEs need to embrace ICT to stay competitive: Sabah CM

KOTA KINABALU: Small and medium enterprise (SME) entrepreneurs in Sabah need to embrace information and communication technology (ICT) in order to stay competitive and thrive in their business.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman (pix) said as online business was preferred by today's consumers, SMEs in Sabah should to take advantage of it by adapting appropriate technologies to improve their business competitiveness.

"The robust ICT sector holds a huge impact on life, including the business sector. The emergence of so many technologies and applications enables the business sector to enhance their operating efficiency," he said at the launch of the SME BizFest 2017, organised by Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM), here today.

His speech was read by Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah, who is also State Minister of Industrial Development.

Also present were TM Executive Vice-President of Consumer and SME Imri Mokhtar and TM General Manager Sabah Sukkuriya Masri.

Musa said statistics showed that Internet usage among SME entrepreneurs increased significantly to 90.1% in the first quarter of 2016 compared with 33.3% in the corresponding quarter in 2014.

He said social media usage to promote and market their products and services also increased to 78.2% in the first quarter of 2016 compared to only 12.1% in the first quarter of 2014.

"Today, more than 40% of SMEs have their own websites and this indicates a significant increase over the years," he added.

Hence, Sabah SME entrepreneurs taking part in the SME BizFest 2017 need to fully harness the digital entrepreneurship development programme to improve their knowledge and skills so as to expand their business potentials through the Internet.

"I believe this will help boost the economic development by galvanising the full potentials of SME entrepreneurs in Sabah," he added.

The BizFest, themed "Innovate to Dominate: Go Digital" aims to provide the latest digital solutions and products to help SMEs attract more prospects by using digital marketing tools and empowering employees to achieve higher productivity and drive cost effectiveness.

Sabah was the fifth and final stop for the BizFest this year after Kuala Lumpur, Kuching, Kota Baru and Johor Baru.

The one-day event, which was supported by SME Corporation Malaysia, Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation and Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd, attracted more than 1,500 SME entrepreneurs. — Bernama