Sunway iLabs partners players to help SMEs get online

April 20, 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: Sunway Innovation Labs (Sunway iLabs) will be hosting the eCommerce Jumpstart Programme, a free four-week training programme for small and medium enterprises (SME) and retail entrepreneurs to help their businesses get online.

The programme is organised by Sunway iLabs and Sunway University in partnership with numerous industry leaders including Alibaba.com, government agencies including Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC), Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd, and digital champions in the ecosystem.

Sunway Group chief innovation officer and Sunway iLabs director Matt Van Leeuwen said while a recent Malaysian Digital Association report showed online traffic growth rates surged to 600 per cent for some grocers as Malaysians flock to online stores, Sunway iLabs think that this crucial business opportunity is not available to a majority of the SMEs.

"SME Corp had indicated in 2018 that only 37.9 per cent of SMEs are involved in online business, with a majority of the online businesses serving the domestic market.

"We want to help the businesses who are not online to get an online presence for their survival, and help them emerge stronger,” he said in a statement.

The eCommerce Jumpstart Programme is a corporate social responsibility initiative by Sunway iLabs in response to the Covid-19 crisis, aimed at helping Malaysian retail and SMEs entrepreneurs on their digital transformation journey to weather the current economic downturn.

Among the growing list of the experts to give talks during the programme and mentor the participants including Matt are Alibaba Group vice president Brian Wong, Momentum Commerce founder and Lazada co-founder Hans-Peter Ressel, Fave co-founder Yeoh Chen Chow, OURSHOP (AirAsia) chief executive officer Lalitha Sivanaser, TheLorry co-founder and executive director Nadhir Ashafiq, AVANA co-founder and chief executive officer Luqman Adris, Shopline country manager Eileen Feng, Commerce.Asia founder & executive chairman Ganesh Kumar Bangah, Kumoten co-founder and chief executive officer Isaac Leong, Red Dino Ventures founder Wong Kim Yoong and speakers from MDEC and Sunway University.

“If there’s anything the Covid-19 situation has amplified, it would be the crucial necessity for offline SMEs to employ a bricks-and-clicks strategy.

"The eCommerce Jumpstart Programme intends to help them implement digital solutions for their business through a structured curriculum and mentorship from digital experts," Matt said.

MDEC Global Growth Acceleration Division vice president Gopi Ganesalingam said the agency is highly supportive of Sunway iLabs' continuous efforts to promote online business activities amongst micro-entrepreneurs and SMEs.

"We are encouraged by Sunway iLabs, one of seven Malaysia Digital Hubs (MDH), for its initiative in helping business communities equip themselves with fundamental tech capabilities to pivot their business model for sustainability and profitability.

"We look forward to more initiatives of this nature across our MDH fraternity,” he said.

The launch of the eCommerce Jumpstart Programme will take place on 27 April 2020 and will kick off with a keynote address from Alibaba Group vice president Brian Wong.

The 12-hour, four-week programme will cover fundamentals in the first week, e-commerce strategy in the second week, pragmatic steps for getting businesses online in the third week, and content and digital marketing in the fourth week.

The programme will feature lectures, talks and workshops from successful digital entrepreneurs, e-commerce players and academics.

The whole programme will be delivered online and is targeted to benefit primarily entrepreneurs and SMEs in the retail space who are looking to establish an online presence.

The programme is open to any Malaysian retail entrepreneurs and SMEs.