Wednesday, March 3

Trust an essential growth factor for SMEs’


Recipients of the 11th SME 100 Awards gather for a group photo.

KUALA LUMPUR: Trust among customers, suppliers and staff is an essential component for local small-medium enterprises (SMEs) to have in order for growth to occur, says Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI) Dr Ong Kian Ming.

In his opening speech for the annual 11th SME 100 Awards at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) recently, Dr Ong regarded the issue of trust as instrumental in determining the long-term sustainability and success of a company.

“The important areas of trust I want to emphasise are to build trust with your customers, so that they know your product or service is of good quality; to build trust among your suppliers to ensure long-term partnerships; and to build trust among your own staff, because if you cannot trust your own staff and your staff cannot trust your management, then your ability to grow will be severely limited.”

Dr Ong being interviewed. — Photos by Ong Xiang Hong

Moreover, Dr Ong believed that local business owners should live by the mantra of ‘say what we mean and mean what we say’ in order to be able to build trust effectively.

Concurring with this sentiment, one of the SME 100 Award recipients Kenn Siaw Lim Loong, the chief executive of Eldon Healthcare Sdn Bhd, said: “I truly believe that our company has managed to come this far by our commitment in the culture of trust in all our stakeholders.

“At times, it might be hard to uphold this, but we endeavour because we believe it is essential for long-term sustainability and growth.”

Asked on other traits deemed important to successful businesses, Dr Ong remarked: “Having a long-term vision for the company is a must. But for me, the biggest challenge they need to overcome now is how they can upgrade themselves in light of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“And we (the government) have been looking into how we can best assist these SMEs by increasing their use of technology and digitalisation.”

Touching on government commitment in uplifting the local SME industry, Dr Ong said the Pakatan Harapan (PH)-led government remained very committed to the promises that they had made during the 14th general election, and would be working towards delivering them.

“Even though a number of them have not been fulfilled yet, at least one-third has been achieved, and at least another third is on the way to being fulfilled.

“Despite some political challenges, I myself as one of the members of the manifesto-drafting committee, after talking to different leaders, would like you to know that we are committed and are tracking our promises.”

Organised by Business Media International (BMI), the 11th SME 100 Awards were held on Dec 13 at the KLCC, where 100 local SMEs were identified as fast-moving companies.

The event also divided the awards in two separate categories – the CTOS Credit Excellence Award for companies that achieved consistency and excellence in financial viability, sustainability, creditability and growth; and the Affin SME Icon Award for companies identified as ‘strong business icons in Malaysia’.

Commenting on how the SME 100 Awards affected the local SME industry, BMI group publisher and editor-in-chief, Dato’ William Ng said: “We like to see it as an ultimate award for SMEs, but what we really want to do is to encourage SMEs to go for excellence and to go for growth.

“These are two areas where we have been encouraging SMEs to grow in since we started this 11 years ago. We now have over 1,000 recipients and many of them have gone on to be listed.

“For example,, Serba Dinamik Sdn Bhd and the newly-listed Solarvest Sdn Bhd are just some of the success stories as a result of the SME 100 (Awards).”

Ng said more than just bringing recognition to local SMEs, the SME 100 and its associated programmes also provided businesses the chance to building knowledge and connections not only in Malaysia, but overseas as well.