BSN provides SMEs matching grants to digitalise operations

Govt has provided a 50% matching grant of up to RM5,000 a company for the subscription of digital services

By DASHVEENJIT KAUR / Pic By RAZAK GHAZALI

THE Finance Ministry has appointed Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) to lead a strategic cooperation with SME Bank Group and Malaysia Digital Economic Corp (MDEC) in providing matching grants to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) who are interested to digitalise their operations.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the government has provided a 50% matching grant of up to RM5,000 a company for the subscription of digital services for business operations, such as electronic Point of Sale (e-POS) systems, Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

“The government emphasises the need to strengthen the digitisation process, especially for the SME sector, as it is important to ensure that local companies can continue to compete in the future,” he said in his keynote address at the signing of the strategic collaboration between BSN, SME Bank and MDEC.

The signing of the strategic collaboration also unveiled the digitisation initiative of the SME, which was a part of the various initiatives and incentives for the development of “digital applications, digital companies and digital Malaysians” in the National Budget 2020.

Each agency has its own role to ensure that the programme is implemented successfully and that it achieves the government’s objective of transforming Malaysia into a digital economy, Lim said.

This match grant is available as of yesterday and is limited to only one application per SME.

Each SME, however, can apply up to three types of digitisation services with one or more digitisation service providers registered with MDEC.

“There are five types of digitisation services that SME entrepreneurs can choose from namely the e-POS system, CRM, digital marketing, procurement and ERP, or accounting and taxes.

“These matching grants amount to RM500 million for a period of five years, and are limited to the first 100,000 SMEs per year, applying to upgrade their systems,” Lim said.

According to MDEC, there are 42 Technology Solution Providers (TSPs) under its supervision that provide the latest digitisation services, all of which are available on BSN’s website.

“TSPs interested in becoming a digitisation service provider can apply to MDEC by March 31 for further processing, subject to the terms and conditions,” Lim said.

SME entrepreneurs who are interested in obtaining this matching grant will have to pick a TSP, complete and submit their application form, along with supporting documents, for the bank to process, make payment to the selected TSP and submit payment receipt to BSN or SME Bank.

“Finally, BSN will pay the remaining amount to the TSP. BSN, SME Bank and MDEC plan to set up roadshows in each state to provide detailed information and guide SMEs to obtain this digitisation matching grant,” he added.

Lim further added, quoting the Department of Statistics Malaysia, that 18.5% of GDP in 2018 was contributed by the digital economy.

“This percentage is expected to increase and exceed 21% of GDP in 2022. In this regard, I would like to urge SME entrepreneurs to take a serious approach to digital technology, and to participate in programmes provided through the 2020 budget,” he said.

BSN chairman Rossana Annizah Rashidi said as the leading provider of this matching grant, the bank is responsible in ensuring that SMEs receive the financial assistance needed to enhance the use of digital applications in their business operations.

“We are always committed to providing an integrated financial services platform that is accessible to our customers. This is not just part of our mandate, but also BSN’s continued efforts to ensure financial inclusion among Malaysians,” she said.

Notably, BSN has been the bank in driving and leading government’s initiatives like Bantuan Sara Hidup, BSN MyHome Affordable Home, BSN MyHome Youth Housing Scheme and more.