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Malaysia: Digitalisation Drive to Empower Rural Entrepreneurs

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The Rural and Regional Development Ministry (KKDW) aims to facilitate the transition of 1,200 rural entrepreneurs to digital platforms within the current year. With an allocation of RM1.7 million, the ministry intends to furnish direct and practical exposure to digital business practices for rural entrepreneurs.

Rural and Regional Development Ministry Secretary-General Datuk Seri Ramlan Harun speaking at a Rural Entrepreneurs Digitalisation programme, Image credits: BERNAMA

The Secretary-General of the Ministry, Datuk Seri Ramlan Harun, stressed the significance of the Rural Entrepreneurs Digitalisation programme, operating under the Desamall initiative. The programme aims to narrow the digital divide by empowering rural entrepreneurs with the tools to enhance productivity, efficiency, and online business capabilities. Ramlan highlighted the importance of adapting to technological advancements and prevailing economic conditions.

The Rural Entrepreneurs Digitalisation initiative, officially launched in Kota Damansara, Selangor, is instrumental in refining business operations for entrepreneurs while facilitating business expansion and augmenting productivity and management efficiency. This progress stems from comprehensive training sessions on cutting-edge digital applications and extensive support in digital business integration provided by KKDW and its 22 strategic partners.

Among the areas covered are financial digitalisation, point-of-sale systems, payment gateway management, internet accessibility optimisation, on-demand service applications, and e-commerce platforms. Additionally, entrepreneurs receive guidance on digital retailing, halal certification procedures, trademarking, content production, affiliate marketing, and the transition from nano-level enterprises to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Moreover, entrepreneurs are introduced to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Consumer Intelligence (CI) technologies to discern enterprise requirements effectively.

The initiative, spanning nine series conducted between 2022 and 2023, saw the participation of 2,524 entrepreneurs, signifying substantial outreach and impact. To further streamline logistics management and product stock storage for entrepreneurs, a local company has initiated the rental of a new Desamall warehouse in EmHub, Kota Damansara. This warehouse, spanning 4,000 square feet, serves as a centralised facility for collecting and storing product stocks from rural entrepreneurs participating in Desamall.

The narrative underscores the commitment of KKDW towards fostering digitalisation among rural entrepreneurs, reflecting a concerted effort to harness technology for socio-economic empowerment. The strategic allocation of resources and collaboration with partners demonstrate a holistic approach aimed at equipping entrepreneurs with essential digital skills and resources.

By bridging the digital gap and imparting relevant knowledge and tools, the ministry endeavours to empower rural entrepreneurs to thrive in the digital era. The emphasis on practical exposure, training, and comprehensive support underscores a proactive stance towards addressing the evolving needs of rural businesses.

Through initiatives like the Rural Entrepreneurs Digitalisation programme and the establishment of dedicated facilities like the Desamall warehouse, KKDW strives to create an enabling environment conducive to the growth and sustainability of rural enterprises. This concerted effort reflects the ministry’s commitment to fostering inclusive economic development and leveraging digital innovation as a catalyst for progress in rural communities.

The initiative aligns with Malaysia’s goals overall; it promotes the development of a digital economy beyond urban centres, enhancing competitiveness and market reach. Through training and practical exposure, rural entrepreneurs gain skills to leverage digital platforms effectively, driving entrepreneurship and SME development.

The initiative also supports Malaysia’s position as a global halal hub by guiding entrepreneurs in obtaining halal certification. By equipping rural businesses with digital tools and knowledge, the government aims to drive innovation, create employment, and sustain economic diversification nationwide.


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