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MDEC Launches 2021 #SMART Automation Grant

Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), Malaysia’s lead agency in digital transformation, has announced the 2021 edition of its #SMART Automation Grant (SAG) and is calling for new applicants.

SAG is a matching grant to help services companies automate their business processes and move towards digitalisation, an important process that is increasingly necessary in face of COVID-19 challenges and a digitally disruptive world.

The grant works to help kickstart the development and implementation of projects that adopt technology to automate business operations. Each successful applicant will receive up to 50 per cent of the total project cost, subject to a ceiling limit of RM200,000 (or whichever lower).

As this is a matching grant, successful applicants will need to invest in the 50 per cent balance. SAG functions as an outcome-based grant, whereby projects must achieve specific digitalisation benefits, such as increased revenue, savings in business costs, reduction in process lifecycle and man-hours.

SAG is targeted to services SMEs looking to embark on their digital journey or are planning to enhance and improve their business via digital tools. It covers the general and professional service sectors, including retail, wholesale, food and beverages, tourism, logistics, transportation, education, healthcare, real estate, and professional and financial services.

Introduced in June 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, SAG was part of the Malaysian government’s initiative to expand support for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to make the digital leap and increase their digital capabilities.

The Chief Digital Business Officer at MDEC stated that the agency introduced the #SMART Automation Grant to help SMEs in the services sector thrive and survive in this disrupted business environment. Businesses today fully understand that they need to embrace digitalisation tools and solutions to remain relevant – the grant gives them the support they need to positively impact their operations and income generation.

With this, MDEC is pleased to announce that they are opening new applications for SAG to provide support for more SMEs in the services sector. With SAG, the hope is to empower more SMEs to embrace digitalisation in line with the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint (MyDIGITAL) to facilitate wider digital adoption.

The grant has since seen several successful implementations. Insurance agency Untung Sewajar Sdn Bhd, for instance, needed assistance in the development of the Multi-Tasking Insurance Online System (MIOS) to help insurance agents manage customer information, marketing activities and customer service online.

Bunga Raya Travel Sdn Bhd, on the other hand, underwent a project to develop an eCommerce website with online solutions for SEO (search engine optimisation) and SMO (social media optimisation) techniques.

The new SAG applications are now open with a four-week call for submissions. Applicants will be able to check their eligibility criteria and register their interest here. SMEs in the services space are encouraged to participate in capability building programmes run by MDEC that drive digitally powered businesses, such as 100 Go Digital Coaching and the SME Digital Accelerator Programme. This will ensure that SMEs will be better equipped to develop a structured approach for their operations as well as identify possible pain points and opportunities in the digital space.

Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) is the agency under the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia Malaysia leading the digital transformation of the economy for 25 years. They aim to enable a nation that is deeply integrated with technology, providing equitable digital opportunities to society, people and businesses, in line with the Malaysia 5.0 agenda.

To achieve this, MDEC will execute on its NADI (Nadi Digital) framework, based on the four thrusts: New skills, Adoption, Disruptors and Investments. NADI will drive our core programmes for the rakyat, industry and investors. MDEC will continue to lead Malaysia’s digital economy forward towards becoming a globally competitive digital nation, anchored on innovation, sustainability and shared prosperity, firmly establishing Malaysia as the Heart of Digital ASEAN.

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