KUALA LUMPUR: Odela, the new business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce platform launched by SME Bank, is the first in the country to be backed by a development financial institution (DFI), and is aimed at giving SMEs easy access to trade among themselves.
Speaking to the media after the platform’s launch today, SME Bank group president and CEO Aria Putera Ismail said the bank had decided to develop Odela in partnership with JNJ Group as part of the “beyond financing” services it offered.
“Something we realised is that we can’t profile our customers and how they spend their money so by having Odela, we will have a database of the users and we will be able to provide advisory services, training for capacity building and also we will be able to identify when they need money to expand,” he said.
He explained that Odela will not be accessible to individuals for the time being, but rather to sole proprietors and private companies only.
Today, SME Bank, through its subsidiary Centre for Entrepreneur Development and Research Sdn Bhd (Cedar), launched Odela, which aims to have 8,000 users and merchants within the first year.
The platform was launched by Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Yusof, and witnessed by Deputy Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Wira Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli and Entrepreneur Development Ministry secretary-general Datuk Wan Suraya Wan Mohd Radzi.
During his speech, Mohd Redzuan said Odela would assist in supporting the government’s aspiration to strengthen the country’s digital economy which is expected to open up more opportunities.
According to a study carried out by the Statistics Department of Malaysia, in 2017, e-commerce transaction revenue registered RM447.8 billion compared to RM398.2 billion in 2015 with an annual growth rate of 6%.
JNJ Group CEO Fauziah Husain said Odela is its commitment to drive SME growth and nurture them to be more competitive in the market.
“Managing a business through Odela will enable the merchant to create the Single Point of Truth (SPOT) which is a digital business ID. With Odela, businesses will be assisted in terms of financial management, sales and purchase records, supplier records as well as entrepreneurship development training schemes,” she said.
Meanwhile, at the same event, SME Bank also announced the closing of the Best Exporters Programme (BEP), which saw 73 companies successfully generate a total of RM141.4 million in export revenue.
Aria said under the BEP, SME Bank had approved new financing worth RM87.8 million to 13 companies involved in the programme for working capital and purchase of assets.
“From the 73 companies that participated in the BEP, 43 were from the manufacturing sector and 30 were from the services sector,“ he said.
The three-year-long BEP is a collaboration between three agencies, namely SME Bank, Unit Peneraju Agenda Bumiputra (Teraju) and Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade).
Mohd Redzuan said the Entrepreneur Development Ministry would allocate RM5 million for BEP2.0 which will begin in 2020. The RM5 million grant is expected to benefit about 25 companies.
Aria added that SME Bank will see bigger financing growth next year, and will be supporting new sectors.
“We support the government’s initiative to improve the economy for next year, and the sectors that we believe will provide high impact would be tourism, infrastructure, manufacturing, and technology adoption by all SMEs.
“That is not forgetting other sectors as well, but these high impact sectors will be our main focus for next year,” he said.