Pupuk@Aeon to assist 100 micro-entrepreneurs by year-end

The initiative encourages the group to transform and utilise digitalisation for their businesses


THE Small Entrepreneur Digitisation Empowerment Programme (Pupuk), Pupuk@Aeon aims to identify and empower 100 micro-entrepreneurs by year-end through its programme.

Pupuk is a digitisation initiative under the National People’s Wellbeing and Economic Recovery Package involving an allocation of RM200 million for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and RM100 million for SMEs, targeting to help 800,000 MSMEs by 2025.

The collaboration between the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and retailer Aeon Co (M) Bhd will be an initiative to encourage micro-entrepreneurs to transform and utilise digitalisation for their businesses through training and upskilling.

MCMC chairman Dr Fadhlullah Suhaimi Abdul Malek said the programme was important to assist and “hand-hold” those that really needed help particularly during this time where so many have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Some may need help in extending the business as the products may be good but there is not enough capacity or the marketing efforts are not as attractive as they should be.

“Via this programme, micro-entrepreneurs can learn skills that will allow them to compete with the rest of the industry,” he said during the virtual programme launch yesterday.

According to Fadhlullah Suhaimi, MCMC’s role includes being the touch point for MSMEs to reach out to through its community Internet centres, and provide training and connectivity to those that want to up the game.

“Often enough, financing is not the only necessary thing needed for a MSMEs, but it is more about facilitation into the ecosystem.

“The programme will allow businesses to sell products whether in physical stores or online and will be free to join,” he said.

Aeon MD Shafie Shamsuddin said the retailer’s role will include assistance in terms of certification applications and helping MSMEs leverage the platform itself.

“Some may not be clear if products should be sold offline or online. We will help from day one to ensure the product is of the highest quality and will be on the shelves for purchase. We currently have 22 hypermarkets and 34 supermarkets in 55 different locations.

“Smaller businesses also usually need help with logistics, and through this programme, they can leverage on our capabilities by simply sending the products to one location and allow us to distribute it to the stores,” he said.

He added that those in the programme will have the opportunity for potential micro financing which is a small fund from the government but will be of help.

“Lastly, we want to work on the communication part where MSMEs will be able to tell their stories using either conventional or social media while marketing the products in the right way,” he said.

Meanwhile, Shafie said the programme will run for five years, while participants will have certain conditions to follow.

“We do hope at the end of the five years, these businesses are no longer small businesses but instead have grown and expanded, even exporting internationally, if possible,” he said.

Fadhlullah Suhaimi added that collaborations between the private sector and the government can add value and should be encouraged.

“MSMEs are a huge part of the economy and contribute to the gross domestic product of the country.

“We hope this programme will help encourage more MSMEs to join so they can have a solid chance of success,” he noted.