BINTULU: SME Bank Sarawak Region is looking at approving financing worth RM220 million for eligible small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the state this year, says its group managing director Datuk Mohd Radzif Mohd Yunus.
In total, SME Bank Sarawak has approved more than RM1.3 billion of financing and assisted 1,042 SMEs since it started operations in Sarawak.
Mohd Radzif said this at the Sarawak Region Mini Xcess programme in a hotel here yesterday.
“So take this opportunity and engage with our officers on how to get the financing towards developing your businesses further,” he said.
SME Bank Mini Xcess is an annual event that aims to reach out to SME entrepreneurs directly in providing financing solutions.
“The annual outreach programme is one of our efforts in resolving issues pertaining to access to financing.
The response from SME entrepreneurs thus far has been very positive.
“From January until now, we have engaged with approximately 1,500 SME entrepreneurs and Bintulu is the last venue before we conclude the first series this year,” he said, adding that so far eight outreach programmes have been implemented throughout the country.
He also said SME Bank Sarawak plans to implement the second series starting end of April, with the hope of contributing more towards Sarawak’s economic growth.
Mohd Radzif said that SME Bank is committed to assisting Sarawak SMEs, particularly in Bintulu, and its eco-system to ensure that the development projects initiated by the state government would be achieved according to plan.
He pointed out that SME Bank Sarawak regional centre operates with four branch networks – Kuching Enterprise Centre, Miri Enterprise Centre, Bintulu Business Centre and Kuching Urban Transformation Centre (UTC).
SME entrepreneurs are encouraged to be involved in all activities organised by SME Bank to keep abreast of the latest offerings and development, engage directly with the officers or visit any of the branches for their financial and developmental needs.
Alternatively, entrepreneurs can communicate directly with the bank via its mobile application which can be downloaded through the Apple iTunes Store or Google Play Store under the name ‘SME Bank’.
Mohd Radzif said in SME Bank, the team operates with the objective of guiding and developing SME entrepreneurs in the country, which differentiates it from other commercial banking institutions.
“We offer services beyond financing through the SME Bank Entrepreneurs Development Division and Centre of Entrepreneur Development and Research Sdn Bhd – a wholly-owned subsidiary of SME Bank.
“We have successfully coached more than 34,000 participants in various SME entrepreneurial programmes.” Mohd Radzif also believed that the strong partnership between SME Bank and SME entrepreneurs would be able to create a good platform for the SMEs to continue striving forward and achieve 41 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020.
Since its establishment in 2005, SME Bank has approved a total financing amounting RM26 billion and assisted more than 15,000 SME entrepreneurs.
The bank’s upward migration programme has helped upgrade more than 800 SME businesses to a higher level.
Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida), Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC) and Celcom Axiata also participated as strategic partners for the event.
Assistant Minister of Infrastructure Development Datuk Talib Zulpilip officiated at the programme yesterday.
In his speech, the Jepak assemblyman shared his views on the need of having integrity and good governance when doing business.
“By practicing these two concepts, only then one can be successful,” Talib said.
The government, he said, acknowledged the contribution of SMEs to the country’s economic growth and knowing the value of SMEs, the government had formed SME Bank.
Talib praised the bank for its efforts in empowering the SMEs in the state by going to the ground and engaging with local SMEs by offering financial assistance to potential entrepreneurs.