The current covid-19 pandemic has amplified more than ever before the practicality of retail businesses going online. With the pronounced need of small medium enterprises (SMEs) to quickly go digital, Sunway iLabs has launched its Ecommerce Jumpstart Programme on April 27.
As part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative, the programme has rounded up some e-commerce heavyweights to offer the programme free of charge. The supporting partners include Commerce.Asia, Kumoten, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), Malaysia Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC), Alibaba, AirAsia’s OURSHOP, Momentum Commerce, Fave and Shopline.
Not surprisingly, the programme attracted 1,600 participants keen to establish online businesses. The chief innovation officer of Sunway Group and director at Sunway iLabs, Matthijs van Leeuwen (Matt) (pic), commended the entrepreneurs that came onboard. “I am genuinely humbled by the positive response of these busy entrepreneurs who have taken time out of their schedules to contribute to this programme.”
During the online launch, Matt highlighted the spike in demand experienced by online grocers. Based on data from Malaysia Digital Association, the growth rate of online grocers Tesco, Happyfresh, Mydin, MyGroser and Jaya Grocer has increased by over 350%.
Addressing the fallout from the movement control order (MCO), Matt said, “You may not have any sales at all or Covid-19 has made you shut down your business. These are stories that are really painful to hear, especially those who have worked hard to build up their business from scratch and have lost everything overnight. But yet, some businesses that are online have seen tremendous growth.”
Citing an SME Corp 2018 report revealing that only 37.9% of SMEs were involved in online businesses at that point, Matt estimates that this may now be, “closer to 50%, but still a lot of you listening are not yet online.” Hence the programme crafted for them.
Spanning over four weeks from April 27 to May 21, the programme outline is as follows:
“This is not a full time programme. We designed it as such so that you can enjoy it on a part-time basis. As a matter of fact, we only run three sessions per week and each session is only one hour from 5pm to 6pm,” said Matt. He also confirmed that the sessions are recorded a put up on the Sunway iLabs website provided the speakers consent to this.
The programme will also host a competition for participants to submit their e-commerce strategy for feedback from the experts although it is not compulsory. “The submission deadline is May 19 and the winners will be announced on the last day of the programme May 21.”
Three winners will be selected with the first prize being a 100% fee waiver for the Alibaba GET Programme and Wildcard to the Sunway iLabs Accelerator programme. Meanwhile, first and second runner up will receive 50% and 25% fee waiver respectively to the Alibaba GET Programme. More information about the programme can be found on the website or the Sunway iLabs Facebook page.