by AFIQ AZIZ / pic by BERNAMA
INVEST Selangor Bhd is calling for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to leverage its inaugural virtual Selangor Business Hub (SBH) initiative amid Covid-19 challenges for the business community.
Selangor state executive councillor Datuk Teng Chang Khim said the state is eyeing for more than 3,000 companies to register on the online platform within the next 12 months.
Currently, 300 merchants have registered to participate in the virtual Selangor International Expo (SIE), one of the components of SBH, scheduled to begin next month.
“The numbers are still growing. So far, there are participants from over 10 countries in this programme.
“It is tough, but we will try to increase the participation to 3,000 merchants over the next one year because we have already reduced the price of booths from RM6,000 to RM500 for this summit,” Teng said at the launch of SBH in Kuala Lumpur recently.
SBH, an alternative for businesses to communicate, engage and do networking with stakeholders, comprises three key components.
They are Invest Selangor promotional programmes, virtual Selangor International Business Summit, as well as the Selangor Information Technology and E-Commerce Council (SITEC).
The virtual Selangor International Business Summit is an online format of the annual Selangor International Business Summit (SIBS).
It consists of Selangor Asean Business Conference and Selangor Smart City and Digital Economy Convention, as well as SIE.
SITEC is an information hub for webinar programmes held by the council to expand and reach an international audience.
Teng explained that historically, there were up to 20% to 30% of foreign participants in the SIBS physical expo held last year. Invest Selangor aims to achieve the same composition for the virtual series this year.
“This is the only way that we can work within the constraints of the close borders,” he said, adding that Selangor is ready to adjust the format accordingly, including offer physical summit to businesses when the travel restrictions end.
Teng also said Selangor would focus on its Halal Business Hub programme and the aerospace industry development for SIBS this year.
On the state direct investments projection, Teng said it is still early to review its target this year as Selangor is already facing economic challenges due to the pandemic.
“Selangor has been ranked No 4 in terms of investment in the manufacturing sector with total investment worth RM1.5 billion (for manufacturing) in the first quarter 2020 (1Q20) and we are waiting for 2Q results.
“It is still too early to give the forecast for this year as we have seen that Covid-19 has affected the investment flow in the state.
“I would say we don’t have to be so pessimistic to look at those figures,” he said.
Teng said Selangor will be more prudent in drafting its 2021 budget, to be tabled by year-end.
“In line with that, the provision may also be lower than what was provided last year.
“However, as long as the budget for development is sufficient to generate the economic growth in 2021, we will be satisfied with that,” he said.