LEAP Market needs time to prove its worth

‘We believe easily around 19,000 SMEs are looking to raise capital’

By RAHIMI YUNUS / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

The Leading Entrepreneur Accelerator Platform (LEAP) Market, the new capital raising platform for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) launched by Bursa Malaysia Bhd last July, might need some time to prove its worth.

Bursa Malaysia CEO Datuk Seri Tajuddin Atan said the barely three-month-old platform is currently being prepped before anyone can pass any judgment on its effectiveness.

“There are a lot of demands in the SME market. We believe easily around 19,000 SMEs are looking to raise capital. Give it six to 18 months and observe first.

“After that, we will look into the areas that need to be improved — the supply and demand chains, and how to further enhance the SME market,” Tajuddin said on the sidelines at the listing of Cloudaron Group Bhd, the first company listed on the LEAP Market.

“Don’t compare with the ACE or Main Market. Please have a clear mind. This SME market is about the long term. If you do believe in the potentials of the entrepreneurs and startups, you would want to invest in this place,” he said.

Since its inception, the LEAP Market has already attracted 11 SMEs that have engaged authorised advisors by the exchange to handle all the due diligence ahead of their listings.

Among the companies are Red Ideas Holdings Sdn Bhd, Polymer Link Sdn Bhd, Trustgate Bhd and East West One Group Sdn Bhd.

“We hope that all of them will be listed. We have told them to be indicative of their interest and we peruse their proposition accordingly.

“It wasn’t that the 11 companies are sanctioned to be up there. The approval is done by the advisors, but I strongly believe it is going to be more than that,” he added.

The LEAP Market is the third market in Bursa Malaysia, the first of its kind in the Asean region, giving underserved but high potential SMEs and startups an alternative platform to raise capital.

Tajuddin said only sophisticated investors — high-net-worth entities or individuals with total net assets above RM10 million, or RM3 million respectively — are allowed to invest in companies listed on the LEAP Market.

Malaysia is the first country in the region to introduce such a market, while Thailand and Singapore exchanges are on the heels of setting up their own at the moment.